WINEED, Partners Women Affairs in Charting the Cause of Women
…Commissioner tasks women leaders to ensure victory of women aspirants
The Commissioner Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hafsat Mohd. Baba has charged Women Leaders to strengthen their efforts towards ensuring that women aspirants emerge victorious during elections. She described their role as very key to winning elections as such all hands must be on deck to see that more women spring up in the next dispensation.
This charge was made in her office when the executive members of WOMEN IN NEED FOUNDATION (WINEED) were there on a courtesy visit. She had attributed part of the reasons why women aspirants fail to make it during elections to the fact that many of our women leaders support the male counterparts to the detriment of their fellow women. A scenario she condemned and described as not only unacceptable but unethical.
Not until this ugly trend is corrected, no meaningful achievement she lamented can be recorded in our political struggles.
“ We have been in these struggles for a long time. Quite true we are large in number, but are we using that numerical number that we have?
If you are a woman leader, you are automatically a delegate because you are in the structure of the party. You have a vote during the primaries. How can you be leading women and would not elect a fellow woman? That is where our problem lies. The most challenging aspect women face is the primaries because you have few people there to decide your fate. The women don’t want me to say anything in that direction but l will continue to say it until they understand. If you don’t do that for a woman, then who are you leading? That means you have sold your conscience and not fit to be a leader because your being there is for you to lead the women and ensure that you vote for them.
If we do not have women at the decision making level, then what are we talking about? It is a shame that in the 7 states of north-west zone, there is no single woman in the state assemblies. In the whole of 19 northern states, we have only Binta Masi Garba as a senator. We are advocating for elective position because once you elect a woman, she would be there for 4yrs. Since she knows our concerns and issues, we can reach out to her.
If we support fellow women and also lobby for them at every level, I think we can make a difference”.
Hafsat commended WINEED, for sensitizing the women and urged them not to relent in their efforts. Her ministry she said is ready to partner with them to better the lots of women.
“I am happy to say that l have worked with WOMEN IN NEED. You have been very hard working. One of the cases your foundation brought was that of a girl from Kogi state whose care giver whenever she was beating her and she held the rubber cane, because of anger, the woman would start biting her all over. Your members were the ones that saved the girl by reporting her case. They communicated to me and we both pursued the case until the father came and took the girl to Kogi state. It was posted on face book.
“We need to know what is happening with our children, your foundation is also working on maternal health which is very key because we need to reduce maternal mortality rate; we also need to talk about rape cases, we are having them every day of our lives; they are there, they refuse to go away. We would continue to work together to better the lives of people in Kaduna state. We need to engage the women most especially at the community level.
I commend you for doing a good job. It is not easy to assemble women, interact with them and still hold on to the organization for years. If you can deal with women, l bet you, you can deal with any issue.
Women issues, women concerns, everything centers on the women. Women are gifted but we do not make good use of the gift we have and that is why we are relegated to the background and never taken seriously. We easily change our minds and at the end of the day we get the blamed. The issue of Sarah Jibril has always been a reference point they use against us whenever there is a political function.
She urged women to stand firm in their political stride. Most women when they loss election, they give up and coil back into their shells.
“When you lose an election, always examine yourself to know your lapses instead of giving up. I have contested twice and know what it entails to contest an election. I know where the mistakes are and where there were serious challenges. Those women who want to contest election, what is it that they have in stock for the women? We need to know. Now we have the mentorship group in place which is led by Florence Ayah. She is doing a good job”.
Stressing on the importance of the media in the struggles, the commissioner called on the media to assist in creating a platform where women contestants can be engaged in the act of public speaking. A woman seeking leadership position she said must be able to engage the press and be able to answer impromptu questions anytime, anywhere.
Earlier, The Executive Director of WINEED, Barrister Abiola Kamardeen while explaining the activities of the foundation said they are geared towards uplifting the general well-being of women in the state particularly those at the grass root level. Areas of concern being that of maternal health care, education, socio-economic and politics.
Worried over low participation of women in politics, she said unofficial statistics has shown that women constitute over 60% of Nigeria’s population which signifies that politically the Nigerian woman is expected to be pulling weight within the political sphere but the reverse happens to be the case .Reasonshe described as the ‘unfortunate’ factor of religion and custom particularly within the northern part of the country.
“It is really unfortunate that we have these militating factors. It would continue to be unfortunate if we women are not ready to take the bulls by the horns and sturdy. We need to know ourselves. We need to get educated. Education does not stop with western education; could be religious education. The ability to plan and set out priorities is what the women lack. This weakness is what the men use as an advantage over us. Bar. Abiola equally lamented over the lack of focus on the part of many of our women. There is need to prioritize our needs she emphasized.
“Many of our women politicians seem not to border about knowing what the constitution of their parties is all about.
WINEED is educating women on the provisions of the electoral laws. As part of our sensitization we have been to SIECOM because we are mobilizing women for governance, active participation in politics and seeking for leadership positions. The LG election is now scheduled for December and we hope to see 2, 3 LG councilors emerging among our women in the next dispensation.
We are physically challenged, economically challenged, socially challenged, we are being raped, and we are being murdered and molested.
. “These are issues that we in WINEED see and we say women are in need. Not the other way round like clothing, shoes etc. These are not women’s needs all the time.
Speaking more on the political pursuit of the foundation, Bar.Sidikat Adegboye said despite the fact that the foundation has engaged women politicians and encouraged them to come out and vie for political offices, they still have a long way to go. Breaking those barriers militating against them she said would need a lot of hard-work. Most disturbing is the fact that women are their own worst enemies. This has contributed to why there is low participation of women in politics. She added.
“I don’t know how we are going to overcome this issue. It is really affecting us even in our own homes right to the national level. We have been holding workshops and involving women in politics. In the past four years, we had quite a number but now, it has gone down to zero and it is highly discouraging. The few women that came out in the last dispensation were schemed out of contest. They would give you free form and at the end of the day is nothing. It is really disheartening. WINEED is training grass root women, bringing mentors so that they can pick interest again. Not until women are able to break those barriers militating against them only then can they have a way forward.