As the permutations for who beecomes the running mate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar reach apogee, a political pressure group, Women in Politics Forum (WIPF), said the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is the most suitable person for the job.
WIPF however, threatened to drag the All Progressives Congress,APC and other major political parties to court over what it described as unequal representation in elective positions and other sundry issues.
The group on Thursday staged a protest in Abuja to register their disappointment over the intimidations, harassments, financial inducements the APC and other major parties melted on the women aspirants unlike PDP.
Ebere Ifendu, leader of the forum who spoke to journalists lamented that apart from paying half of the stipulated amount to buy the expression of interest forms for elective positions, the women aspirants were subjected to various degrees of humiliation and degrading treatments during the primaries.
Ifendu vowed to ensure that any party that fielded a female as a presidential running mate will get 50 per cent of the entire vote from women.
She recalled that, “since 1999, inclusion, participation and representation of women in politics have been undermined both in policy and practice. The political climate has largely been dominated by a foray of dispassionate politics of intimidation, threats, violence against women in politics and elections.
“However, in view of the changing dynamics in electoral publics in Nigeria, one would have expected significant changes in the electoral conduct, but this unfortunately has not been the case.
“In retrospect to the political parties’ primaries concluded on October 7, 2018 in line with INEC’s schedule for the 2019 General elections, a scrutiny into the processes and methodologies leading up to the primaries is important to be considered and evaluated.
“There has been a lot of mixed feelings which have trailed the conduct of the primaries. WIPF observed that the pattern of participation by both men and women as voters and as aspirants.
“WIPF shares deep concerns and reservation about the conduct of the primaries as quite a number of the women aspirants were faced with intimidation, harassment and threats to their persons and properties in their aspirations into various positions.
“Though all Political Parties are affected, the case of the ruling APC is not acceptable. At the Women Aspirants Advocasy Summit organized by the Women in Politics Forum, the NCWS and in collaboration with the office of the wife of the President, women were encouraged to contest.
“The summit was endorsed with the presence of President Muhammadu Buhari, the wife of the president, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, IPAC leadership and the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Commitments were made to the women.
“We have this cases of imposition, violence, intimidation and outright lock out of women in Plateau, Edo, Ondo, Kogi, Imo, Niger, Ekiti States. We thank the leadership of the party in Adamawa for giving two senatorial tickets to women.
“Again, the exorbitant nature of nomination fees major political parties have implication for limitation in participation and representation of economically marginalized populations such as women in politics. “WIPF also observed that not more than 10 per cent of women across all political parties could afford the nomination forms. This is a potential for violence against women in politics (VAWIP) as desperate bids to buy nomination tickets can make women vulnerable to abuse.
“WIPF condemns in strong terms this development and demands for an immediate action from all stakeholders to put this to an end and urges all stakeholders to act to save Nigeria’s democracy from losing the gains made over the years and from a complete exclusion of women, youths and persons with disabilities.
“WIPF calls on all political parties to be more democratic in their pursuit of power and positions, resist all forms of electoral violence and abuse against women. Again, WIPF also requests development partners to initiate targeted sensitization and strategized advocacy to political parties, IPAC, partner CSOs, committees, among others to review of the code of conduct for political parties should include a benchmark for nomination tickets,” Ifendu stated.