Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has charged women to get actively involved in the 2019 elections to take up more position of power at all levels of government.
Speaking at the 14th annual lecture of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), in Lagos recently, the former President said women must strive to have a place of honour in the 2019 general election.
He said, “Women, as a majority, must be reckoned with. They need to be participants in decision-making positions. It all starts by commencing mobilisation through our children and youths.
“Through the Coalition for Nigeria Women Movement, I believe women have found a place of honour, where a political party may emanate from, that will enable women have 30 per cent in politics and youths 40 per cent.”
Obasanjo blamed the marginalisation of women in politics to the selfishness of some men who wish to keep women under them.
Although men in politics have always been an impediment to women, Obasanjo urged women not to be discouraged by this, but to learn to use the power they have over men to their advantage.
“It is not that you don’t have what it takes, but there are some people holding you back. You have to make them give way. You need to make use of them, learn how to apply the knowledge you have.
“There are many reasons why we don’t have many women in elective positions; some would say it’s tradition, culture, or religion, but it is out of the selfishness of our men. They would look for any reason to keep women under. My first child is a girl, and she will not take nonsense from you. I have more girls with PhDs than boys,” he said.
He condemned gender inequality in Nigerian politics, stressing that women and men were the same except in the role of procreation.
Themed “Politics 101 … The Winning Forumla,” the 2018 WIMPol forum, organised by WIMBIZ, was aimed at strengthening the success rate of female politicians in Nigeria, enabling women with latent interest in politics by helping them understand the political terrain and also to connect existing and intending female politicians with those who could train them on soft and hard skills required for positions.
On what informed the choice of this year’s theme, executive chairperson, WIMBIZ, Talabi Olubunmi, said: “The fact that next year is election year, apparently, is a resonating theme, and this is what is on the minds of most women. We now realize that politics affects us all, and, clearly, the time is now and we all want to be part of it. We will support candidates that we feel are worthy to be elected into office
“If women inclusion can work in Rwanda, it can also work in Nigeria. The playing fields need to be levelled. The government has to create affirmative action, decisions and policies that say we want to have a minimum of 30 per cent of women in elective or appointment positions, and I believe Nigeria will be better for it.”