“2023 Elections in Nigeria: A Call on Political Parties to field Women and Youths as Running Mates”

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WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE

Protocols,

The Conference of Civil Society of Nigeria is dissatisfied with the low level of inclusion of women, youths and people with disabilities in the just concluded primary elections of political parties in Nigeria, were very few and negligible number of women emerged as standard bearers.

Of all the political parties, none has a woman as Presidential standard bearer for the 2023 General Elections. Less than 5% of gubernatorial candidates are women, while over 95% are men. Less than 10% of candidates for the Federal Parliament are women while over 90% are Men.

Less than 20% of candidates for State Parliaments are Women, while over 80% are men. These figures fall far below the global average, were women hold about 23% of the seats in Parliaments according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union data, on global average.

Regrettably, these appalling statistics and extremely imbalanced ratio are unassertive of our commitment as a country to affirmative action and gender parity, especially when compared with countries like Rwanda, South-Africa, Ethiopia, New Zealand, India, the Philippines with women figures playing prominent roles in their governments.

In the United States of America, a record number of women are serving in the 117th U.S. Congress, with a woman as speaker, symbolizing a jump towards gender equality in U.S. politics.

Despite constituting a vast majority of our population sector, the current level of women inclusion implies that their political status will not be positively aligned with their numerical status in 2023 and they may generally be discouraged from participating in public life, as well as access to rights and empowerment. Such gender paradox is indeed non-explanatory and must not be allowed to continue.

Nigerian Women, Youths and People With Disabilities (PWD) deserve to be at the epicenter of political governance in 2023.

We believe strongly that the presence of women in the next political dispensation of Nigeria, will greatly shape the country’s destiny, make symbolic impact and deliver substantive reforms in our social, political and economic destiny, as demonstrated by some of our outstanding women like Hajya Amina Mohammed of the United Nations, and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the World Trade Organization amongst others.

In fact, we have no doubt that Nigerian women have the capacity to proffer a permanent solution to the perennial challenges of terrorism, banditry, insurgency and other patterns of insecurity and criminalities ravaging Nigeria.

To continue to exclude women from our political governance system because they belong to the sex that wears skirts, is simply and squarely a voluntary suicide mission on our part.

It is against this background that we strongly advocate and call on all political parties participating in the 2023 General elections in Nigeria to adopt and field women and youths as running mates (at state and national levels) in order to gain massive support of women, youths, and the general public, as we continue our unprecedented nation-wide mobilization of civil societies and Thirty Million Nigerians for the 2023 polls.

Meanwhile we urge on all citizens, men and women, young and old, to endeavor to get their PVCs as we approach the polls that will determine the future and fortune of our great country.
Thank you and God bless Nigeria.

Comrade Adams Otakwu
(Chairperson – Conference of Civil Society of Nigeria)