By Sumaila Ogbaje
A women advocacy group, Aspire Women Forum, has urged young women to shun drug addiction and be prepared to take up the challenge of political participation.
The group made the call at a symposium it organised to commemorate the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021 with the theme “Choose to Challenge” on Sunday in Abuja.
The National Coordinator, Aspire Young Women Forum, Gift Johnbull, said that nation building was a collective effort and young people are actually key ingredients.
Johnbull raised the concern that the young population had been plagued by a very strong vices called drug abuse, saying that about 15 million young persons including women were currently plagued with drug abuse in the country.
According to her, people actually indulge in drug abuse thinking it that is an escape from reality but then it lead the victim in a very terrible mess.
“I stand with Gen. Buba Marwa to say no to drug abuse by the youth.
“Face reality and deal with it and say no again to drug abuse.
“My advice for women is to believe in themselves and know that they can actually be important ingredients in nation building and get involved in politics because as they can build the home front, they can also build the nation,” she said.
Founder/President, Aspire Women Forum, Mrs Zainab Marwa-Abubakar, said the event was to celebrate and commemorate the IWD-2021 and also encourage women that they could aspire to do better in the society.
Marwa-Abubakar urged women to ensure that they get involved in politics at the local level, adding that all politics were local by getting registered with a political party.
She expressed the belief that women would play their part and dare to challenge the status quo in 2023 general elections in line with the theme of IWD-2021.
She said the programme would focus on politics, leadership and power with the theme, ‘Be the Change, Dare to Challenge’ which is in line with theme of IWD2021 which is “Choose to Challenge”.
According to her, for so long, women have been barred from political participation by invisible but very strong dark ceiling.
“We were told that women in politics were wrong to dare but today, I say to you that that ceiling has been chartered because we dare to win, learn, grow and challenge.
“We have to be the change, we have to dare the challenge and chose to challenge.
“As 2023 draws near, I believe that women are going to take their rightful place as leaders, policy makers and decision makers in this power play,” she said.
Marwa-Abubakar expressed concern that the recent spate of kidnapping of school children especially girls would have negative impact on girl child education and number of out-of-school children in the country.
She, however, expressed confidence that the recent change in security architecture and appointment of new service chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari, would lead to abating the security challenges.
According to her, the abductions that are happening in the North right now will definitely affect education of the girl child.
In her goodwill message, Adaora Onyechere, Head of Women and Gender Affair, African Union ECOSOC Committee, challenges the women to seek to challenge the status quo by getting involved in politics.
Onyechere said that politics was not just about running an election or joining a political party but being who you are in where you are and making your life count.
She said that women should not wait until when they join a political party but begin to make impact from where they are make their voice heard.
The Coordinator, ECOWAS Female Parliamentarian Association, Blessing Atiri, also advised the women to be bold and take up the challenge, adding that timid women never made impact.