SEVERAL senior Nigerian female politicians are contemplating floating a Women’s Democratic Party (WDP) to give them an opportunity to stand for all elective offices in the 2023 general elections.
Even by African standards, Nigeria has a very poor representation of women in politics, with only 6% of the lawmakers in the National assembly being female. To make matters worse, none of the country’s 36 state governors are female and there is no statutory requirement for a certain percentage of appointed ministers to be women.
In a bid to redress the imbalance, some female politicians are calling for the establishment of a special political party for women. This party, the WDP, would afford women the leeway to contest elections easily without being muzzled by highly dominant male politicians.
At a recent meeting in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, at a two-day post-election workshop organised by ReclaimNaij. for grassroots female politicians in Ekiti and Osun States, the idea of a women’s party was floated. The workshop which aims to facilitate increased women representation in politics had politicians from major political parties, including the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress, Labour Party and the African Democratic Congress, in attendance.
Sade Akinrinmola, a PDP chieftain and former chairperson of Gbonyin Local Government Area in Ekiti State, said the time has come for all women to come under one umbrella party and wrest power from men. She added that women have the numbers to make a difference as they constitute more voters than men.
Ms Akinrinmola said: “We are facing a lot of challenges among men. Very few women can make it in politics because of the lack of financial wherewithal and all sorts of abuses but if we have a special party where we can all converge , it will be easy to mobilise ourselves to fight during elections because we have the numerical strength.”
Francis Onahor, the convener of the workshop, added: “In 2015 elections, Ekiti had two female senators but got none in 2019, likewise Osun. Although, we know that there were few women in the assembly in these states but the numbers are not enough compared with the roles women played in politics”.
Hon Funke Egbemode, the Osun State commissioner for information, said political empowerment for women is germane to the development of any nation, describing women as stabilisers in the society. She added that women must encourage one another and work together.
Hon Funmilayo Olasehinde, a former chief whip of the Osun State House of Assembly, said apart from socio-economic constraints, the reason why few women succeed in politics could be anchored on the fact that they get easily intimidated. She added: “Some women are also petty, so they find it difficult to operate with men.”
Remi Ajayi Babington, the senior special assistant on politics and community affairs to Ekiti State’s first lady, said financial constraints and marital issues are two major impediments working against women in Nigerian politics. “Even in your father’s home, some would reject you because you are married, so these are conflicts that must be resolved”, she added.