By Justina Auta
The National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) says it is ready to mobilise massive support for women candidates for various elective positions in the 2023 general elections.
Dr Laraba Shoda, NCWS President, said this on Thursday, while addressing the media during the National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting and celebration of the International Women’s Day (IWD) in Abuja.
Shoda said that women were ready to slug it out, and unlike in the past, were ready to support female candidates at various levels in 2023.
“A lot of women are planning, they will come out by the time political parties do their conventions and everybody has taken the place that they want.
“Women of course will come out, and when women come out, do not be deceived because women are going to support them,” she said.
Shoda clarified that, though NCWS was not a political party, it had the responsibility to support women in politics.
“NCWS is not a political party, people belong to different political parties, when they come and approach us for support, we will all go out and see what we can do to support them.
“We will mobilise for them, sensitise for them and we will make sure that women vote for fellow women,” she said.
The NCWS president called on stakeholders to create a level playing field so that women could be accommodated in the political terrain.
She condemned the idea of money politics, saying it discourages women from the political terrain.
According to her, the organisation held a summit for women aspirants during the 2019 general elections, but many lost due to money politics.
“In fortunately, many of them did not win in the primaries for obvious reasons. They did not have deep pockets, that is one of the big reason; money politics.
” Unless we stop money politics and go for credible people that merit the position, women might continue to lag behind because we don’t have big pockets,” she said.
Shoda also called for action against political violence, which she said was a disincentive for women hoping to go into politics.
“Women are not violent, and you know during primaries, there is a lot of violence and women cannot come out with sticks, cutlasses and other violent objects because they want to win elections.
“We always weigh what we do. So, a lot of women draw back when they see violence.
“Right now in the Nigerian political scene, it is a man’s world; it is men dominated. That is the problem we have, but we are ready to slug it out in 2023,” she said.
On the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said it had further exposed gender inequality, exacerbated the pain of women and the consequences of patriarchal society.
“We can no longer ignore the fact that the pandemic laid bare existing inequalities in society and exacerbated them.
”It also exposed the absence of women in governance, while at the same time reinforced the call to address our gender-biased society.
“The consequences of patriarchy, unequal power relations were also revealed during the pandemic as male decision-makers were in charge of issues that disproportionately affected women and girls, exposing gender inequality in our society.’’
According to her, the NCWS and others have called on the government to adopt a gender-responsive approach in the inclusion of women in decision making and distribution processes for better and effective results.
Shoda also called on all female lawmakers to place women’s issues on the legislative agenda.
The council president said women in executive positions should encourage conversations around budget review and new appropriation to ensure that decisions are gender sensitive.
She said that the 2021 IWD celebration was symbolic as it highlights the achievement and landmark feats achieved by Nigerian women and others across the globe.
Highlight of the day was an award of “Ambassador of NCWS” to Alhaji Yusuf Manjalo, a seasoned administrator, for his support to women and children in Nigeria. (NAN)