A group of female politicians from Ekiti and Osun states are calling for the establishment of a women-only political party, saying it would give women greater prominence and spur active participation in politics.
According to its advocates, the political party, which is to be called the ‘Women Democratic Party’ (WDP), would give women in politics the leverage to easily contest elections without being dominated by male politicians.
The women made the disclosure to reporters in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday at a two-day post-election and learning workshop organised by ReclaimNaija for grassroots female political leaders from Ekiti and Osun states, in order to facilitate more female representation in politics.
The politicians were drawn from major political parties, including the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Labour Party (LP), the African Democratic Congress (ADC), among others from 46 local government areas of the states.
Speaking at the interactive forum, a PDP female leader and former Chairperson, Gbonyin Local Government in Ekiti, Hon. Sade Akinrinmola, said the time had come for women to politically organise under one special interest party.
“We are facing a lot of challenges among men,” she said. “Very few women can make it in politics because of a 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.”
The Programme Manager, Community Live Project, ReclaimNaija, Mr Francis Onahor, urged women to play an active role in politics and fight for elective offices to bring meaningful development to Nigeria.
“In 2015 elections, Ekiti had two female senators, but got none in 2019, likewise Osun. Though, we know that there were few women in the Assembly in these states, the numbers were not enough compared to the roles women play in politics,” Onahor said.
The Commissioner for Information in Osun State , Hon Funke Egbemode, said political empowerment for women is germane to the develpment of any country, describing women as stabilisers in society.
Mrs Oyeboade Shaniyi, representing Egbemode at the workshop, said: “We are here to share experiences and those experiences will help us. I know with efforts like this, women will get there. We should stop running ourselves down as women. We must encourage one another and work together.”
A former Chief Whip of the Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Funmilayo Olasehinde, said that apart from socio-economic constraints, the reason why few women succeed in politics is that they get easily intimidated.
“Some women are also petty, they find it difficult to operate with men. You must have large hearts. Women are their own problems,” she said. “Women know how to take care of husbands, children and home. I see no reason why we can’t bring this to bear in the political scene.”
Mrs Remi Ajayi Babington, the Senior Special Assitant on Politics and Community Affairs to the Ekiti First Lady, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, said that financial constraints and marital issues are two major impediments working against women in Nigerian politics.
“Be a grassroots person, be close to your people at home, this will help you. In most cases, they always resist women contesting in her marital homes, this should not be so. Even in your father’s home, some would reject you because you are married. This are conflicts that must be resolved,” she stated.