…As PDP Woman Leader harps on synergy
By Dirisu Yakubu
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Grace Bent has advised the womenfolk not to allow themselves to be used to garner votes as has been the practice in the past.
Rather, the former federal lawmaker wants women to leverage on their numerical strength to demand for a Vice Presidential slot as condition for participating in the electoral process.
Senator Bent stated this, Monday, at a two-day strategic workshop for women in Abuja, organised by the Office of the PDP National Woman Leader, in partnership with the International Republican Institute (IRI).
She said: “We are saying that in 2023, if our political party does not present a female as vice presidential candidate, we are not going to support them. So set the ball rolling, all female stakeholders, women leaders, tell the party to give us a female Vice Presidential (candidate), otherwise, we will all sit home, we shall not vote.”
Bent, former Senate Committee chairman on Environment and Ecology however advised female politicians desirous of venturing into politics to prepare for a fight, stressing that nothing would be given to them on the altar of gender alone.
“A lone voice is always a problem and this has always been the problem year-in, year-out. For a woman to be successful in politics, you must learn how to fight, you must have an aggressive spirit because no one gives it to you on a platter of gold.
“I have gone to the field a couple of times and with the experience, I can come out to tell Nigerian women that the men have always treated us like second class citizens which we are not. If you want to succeed, you must pay the price.”
Also speaking, former House of Representatives Leader, Hon. Mulikat Adeola-Akande, said women need to get it right in 2023 by working together.
“We cannot get it right if we continue to pull ourselves down. When we continue to say we cannot support her, the men would always come together to ensure that we do not get it, but as women, we should support ourselves.
“Whether we like it or not, if we put a woman in a position, we can demand accountability from her. We can say we put you there, come and explain to us what you are doing,” she stated.
On her part, national woman leader of PDP, Hajiya Mariya Waziri, called for strategic plan for women and the party’s advancement ahead of 2023 general elections. Waziri advised state women leaders of the party to keep their eyes on the ball at all times, in attaining their set goals on women inclusion.
“We are here to discuss amongst ourselves, encourage ourselves, and explore suggestions for strengthening our party especially at the grassroots.
“As we enter 2021, we must deliberate and plan our activities in a very strategic way. 2023 is not far away and 2021 is a step towards preparations for the general elections. We must not be carried away by any present and future disagreements both within our party and between our party and the ruling party.”
Waziri expressed optimism that the meeting would come up with a new commitment towards making PDP stronger through meaningful engagements with supporters, members and other relevant stakeholders at all levels.
The IRI Resident Program Director, Angee Wambugu, said that the institute was working with the office of PDP women leader to avoid decline in women representation as witnessed in the 2019 general elections.
Wambugu, represented by Sunday Alao, expressed optimism that the meeting would come up with recommendations to be submitted to PDP national leadership for women to occupy more executive offices of the party by its 2021 convention.
“By 2023, we should have more women take up political positions, because we cannot have women constituting a half of the Nigerian electoral demography and yet, we are struggling with the figures of women who are elected during general elections.
“I think this is the time to change the narrative, and it has to starts with the PDP,” Wambugu said.