An NGO, the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE), has advised women to take advantage of their large numbers and rally together to take over power in 2019 elections.
Betty Abah, the Executive Director of CEE-HOPE, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday that it was high time women stopped lamenting and move into thoughtful action.
CEE-HOPE is an NGO which works on the rights and protection of the most vulnerable children in Nigeria.
This is done through its empowerment programmes targeted at the most at-risk and impoverished children in the slums.
Abah said: “I believe that beyond lamentation, women can rally together to take over power, not by coup d’etat or violence, but by mobilising themselves into political relevance.
“Though, we cannot rule out support from understanding male counterparts; we must realign, sensitise and mobilise ourselves, taking advantage of our large numbers and refusing to sell our souls for pots of porridge.
“Women have all it takes to occupy any position in the world; but in the light of our patriarchal reality, we must take over power and not wait for power to be thrown on our laps. Non-violent and intelligent mobilisation is the key.’’
She said that more than ever before, “women are now aware of their rights and lawful places in various aspects of life, including marriages, and of their engagements with male counterparts’’.
Abah also said men had now realised that women empowerment was not a power struggle thing, but the need to bridge the inequality gap so that society could progress smoothly without any demography lagging behind.
According to her, things have taken a worse form with the reality of Nigeria having fewer women in virtually every political position.
“It is, however, not cheery news in terms of women taking up critical political decision-making positions; though, there is a certain degree of improvement in other sectors.
“It is a sad statement on the mindset of those in the current political hierarchy and quite detrimental to progress.
“There are positions that people of certain sexes should occupy because of their peculiarity and the fact that the particular sex will best identify with the inherent issues.
“Also, it is a win-win situation when women are given the opportunity to lead as their motherly dispositions, natural empathy and gifts of intuition will always be an asset to any entity that provides them leadership positions,’’ Abah said.
She added that the greatest area of positive development on the affirmative action was enlightenment.
On how government could address the issues of safety for women, Abah advised that the litany of laws on sexual domestic and all sorts of violence should be activated to keep transgressors and potential culprits in check on all fronts.
She said: “Most of our laws are not enforced. Sometimes, we have had to virtually blackmail the police personnel so as not to side with suspect and shame and silence victims.
“All must be alert to ensure the protection of the most vulnerable in the society,’’ Abah said.