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April 14, 2024
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Group picture of participants at a two-day capacity building workshop for women in leadership positions in Abuja Municipal Area and Gwagwalada Area Councils of FCT, organised by an NGO, 100 Women Lobby Group in Abuja.

FCT rural women seek inclusion in governance, politics

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By Justina Auta

Some rural women in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) communities have sought for inclusion in  leadership positions in the country.

The women made the call at a two-day capacity building workshop for women in leadership positions in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and Gwagwalada Area Council, FCT.

The workshop was organised by an NGO, 100 Women Lobby Group, at an event to commemorate the 2024 International Women’s Day with a theme “Empowering Women for a Sustainable future.

Mrs Olabisi Ogedengbe, Leader of women farmers in Gwagwalada Area council, noted the challenges women face in accessing political and leadership positions, in spite of their qualification, experience, zeal and commitment to the cause.

“We have women that are qualified and have the experience and passion to lead in any political position.

“We are often neglected and not given a level playing ground for our potentials to be harnessed,” she said.

Ogedenge attributed the barrier to cultural and religious stereotypes, lack of financial resources, poor leadership skills, Gender Based Violence (GBV)and lack of media exposure as hindrances affecting their participation.

She therefore, stressed the need for mentorship, capacity building, access to funds and full implementation of policies and laws towards protecting the rights of women.

Also speaking, Mrs Sarauniya Erondu of the FCT Market Women Association,  said  some of the political office holders elected or appointed make themselves inaccessible and refuse to keep to their campaign promises of carrying women along during their tenure in office.

She explained that the immense contributions women make in political, economic and social development of the nation are yet to be recognised or reciprocated by giving them the chance to harness their potentials in politics.

“They reach out to us during campaigns because they need our votes.

“Immediately they win, they make themselves inaccessible and refuse to keep to their campaign promises or even address some of the challenges affecting women.

“Even to give our unemployed children jobs, they don’t consider us when they have opportunities to assist” she said.

She urged women to invest in themselves by acquiring skills, engage in politics, and hold their political leaders accountable to ensure they fulfill all their campaign promises.

In her contribution, Mrs Dudu Manuga, the Gombe State Coordinator of the group who doubles as the State APC Woman Leader, stressed the need to empower women in rural areas to engage in politics and leadership positions.

“Let us go down to the women in the communities who want to run for council and local government chairman, let us empower them also”

“We need to empower them because we are leaving the grassroots behind. And if we can carry the grassroots, the numbers will change.

“They will grow to begin to enter into bigger offices at the state and national level to represent our interest”

“Women need to identify those vying for positions in their constituencies and to stand with them,” she said.

Manuga also encouraged women to strategise and plan ahead, acquire public speaking skills, mobilise funds, engage the media and support qualified female candidates vying for various positions.

Mrs Felicia Onibon, National Coordinator of the Group, said the workshop aims at empowering grassroot women to be politically inclined and participate in politics, governance and decision making at the local government and state levels.

“Our own area of interest is governance in politics. By creating opportunities for women, giving them the chance to come out of their shells and be able to participate effectively in governance.

“The outcome of today’s meeting was that some of the participants who want to contest in politics, but can not speak in the public now realise that talking and expressing oneself is actually the ace to it and have acquired public speaking skills.

“So with these programmes in different communities, their mindset will change and when they see a woman contesting, they will see reasons why they should support her,” she said.(NAN)

Edited by Auwalu Birnin Kudu/Sadiya Hamza

Philip Daniel Yatai

Principal Correspondent, NAN Abuja
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