By Justina Auta
The “100 Women Lobby Group”, an NGO, on Tuesday, said the increased limit for campaign expenses for political aspirants in the proposed Electoral Bill
would exclude women from participating in the political space.
The group made this known in Abuja at the “National Strategic Advocacy on Women’s Participation in Politics and Governance Press Conference 2023.”
Its President, Felicia Onibon, said that the final version of the proposed Electoral bill, “which increases the limit for campaign expenses, will further promote gender inequality and poor representation of women in governance and politics.
“In the final version of the proposed Electoral Bill, the limit for campaign expenses was increased as follows: President N1 billion to N15 billion, Governor N2 million to N5 billion, Senate N40 million to N1.5 billion.
“House of Representatives N30 million to N500 million and State Assembly N10 million to N50 million.
“This has potential to exclude women from the political space, and is is highly unacceptable.
“How many women can fund their political ambition if this is finally passed into law?”
Onibon appealed to stakeholders in relevant positions to amend policies, acts and provisions that support affirmation for women participation for the development of the nation.
She called on the government and security operatives to urgently address the insecurity bedevilling the nation as its effects would be more on food security, women and children.
On the current constitution review, Onibon stressed the need to ensure that the rights of women and girls were recognised and guaranteed through the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill.
She said “the Constitution of Nigeria must ensure equitable women representation in government through a minimum of 35 per cent slots in elective and appointive offices at the federal, state and local levels.
“Change must begin with the highest law of the land, which is the Constitution. We can serve as an example for gender equity in West Africa and the world by guaranteeing 50 per cent of our Constitution.”
Ebere Ifendu, a group member and President, Women in Politics Forum, appealed to the National Assembly to reconsider the proposed increase in the cost of campaign funds to enable more women to participate in politics.
Ifendu also stressed the need for gender parity in political representation both in parliament and at every level of governance.
She said women wanted the Electoral Act passed into law because it would enable a level playing ground for political aspirants.
According to her, the voting process should be electronic and results openly displayed to enable women to see those who support the passage at the National Assembly.
Similarly, Mrs Adetayo Erinle, who is also the Executive Director, Tabitha Cumi Foundation, stressed the need for the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and the Sexual Offences Bill into law to reduce the prevalence of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
On his part, Mr Tom Odemwingie, the Executive Director, Agricultural Agenda Nigeria Initiative (AANI), called on the groups to sensitise electorate on the need to resist monetary or material gains in exchange for votes.
Odemwingie advised the electorate “not to sell their votes for gains that will jeopardise the future of their children and the nation.” (NAN) www.nannews.ng