The U.S. Government and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), on Tuesday, pledged to support Nigerian women aspiring for political offices in the 2023 General Elections.
The U.S. and the NDI expressed their support at the 2022 Women Aspirants’ Summit organised in Abuja by Women Radio, 100 Women Lobby Group, Women in Politics Forum and Nigerian Women Trust Fund.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that various women aspiring for political positions at the local, state and federal levels across the states and different political parties attended the occasion.
Dr Stephen Snook, Resident Country Director and Chief of Party of NDI, said in a goodwill message that the organisation was committed to supporting the course of women in Nigerian politics.
“Ahead of the 2023 General Elections, NDI looks forward to supporting initiatives that will increase women’s representation in Nigeria,” Snook, who was represented by Ms. Annabel Ugwoke, said.
According to Snook, the NDI has been supporting democratic institutes and civil society organisations in Nigeria for over two decades and inclusion is in the heart of our core programmes.
He said from 2016 to 2020, the organisation implemented a programme called “Women in Politics” which supported female aspirants to navigate formal and informal party nomination process.
He said it also enlisted support from political influencers for women’s political representation in seven states of Adamawa, Anambra, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos.
“An outcome of the programme was that two women were elected into Kaduna and Adamawa State Assemblies and another aspirant became a local government chairperson in Enugu,” he said.
The representative of the U.S. Embassy at the event, Amanda Whatkey, said though Nigerian women face a lot of challenges in the political space, the embassy was ready to support them.Whatkey said the embassy acknowledged the challenges they face and recognise their efforts at overcoming them.
She commended the organisers of the summit.Speaking, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Women Radio, Adetoun Okewale-Sonaiya, said women’s participation in the summit is critical to the development of democracy.
Okewale-Sonaiya urged the women to put sentiment aside and commit themselves to support women aspirants come 2023 polls.She said at the summit, the women would learn how to use the media power, the newly signed Electoral Act, etc, to their advantage.
The National Coordinator, 100 Women Lobby Group, Felicia Onibon, said it was time for women to raise their voices.
She described Nigerian women as strong, hardworking and intelligent.
Onibon, who appreciated those women coming out again to contest for elective positions, enjoined them not to be discouraged or relent in their efforts.
The President, Women in Politics Forum, Ebere Ifendu, stressed that 2023 elections would not be allowed to come without women making a statement.
Also speaking, the CEO of Nigerian Women Trust Fund, Mufuliat Fijabi, said though there are challenges facing women in politics, “we will not stop to be part of governance process in Nigeria.”
Some of the women aspirants, who spoke to NAN, about their intention to vie for election come 2023 include Ada-Ezinne Chukwu, a presidential aspirant on the platform of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).
Others are Prof. Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies, a presidential aspirant on Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s platform; and Cesnabmihilo Nuhu-Aken’Ova, a presidential aspirant on the platform of Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Others are Filia Henshaw-Etim, a Cross River governorship aspirant on PDP’s platform; Hyellagiziya Naiwa Fakuta who is aspiring to contest for an election into Gombi/Hong Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, among others.(NAN)