Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
The International Republican Institute (IRI) has urged women to participate actively in the various political activities in the country.
This, according to it, would give them broad opportunities to contribute maximally to the governance of the country at all levels in their best interest.
Resident Country Director of the institute in Nigeria, Sentell Barnes, made the appeal yesterday at a workshop it organised for women leaders of various political parties and women organisations held at Monabliss Hotels, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital.
Barnes said that IRI was in Nigeria to encourage political party processes and also to ensure that women and persons living with disabilities are included in the processes.
According to Barnes, “IRI is in Nigeria working, not only to enhance political party processes, but also to ensure that women and persons living with disabilities are included in the processes. And so, what we have seen over the course of their lines is election cycle is women in the national assembly, there was a decrease in the numbers and we also saw smaller numbers at the state assembly.
“So, this workshop is to begin to engage women prior to 2019 elections to ensure that women are elected to positions both at the national level and the state level”, he said.
Asked why various campaigns staged in the past by other organisations have not yielded the desired result, Barnes said: “Number one, I think, is the slow process. So, you find a lot of these activities happening without a lot of progress.”
“But I think there isn’t much progress because you’re dealing with cultural norms, change in attitudes of people; when you’re trying to change the attitudes of people, it’s a slow process.
“So, what we are trying to do is not only to engage women but we are also trying to engage the men who are in political parties to really show them the benefits of having women in the process”, he added.
The State Women’s Leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mrs. Amaka Igboke, in her contributions, told the gathering that her party has recognized women in the affairs of the state which according to her has motivated the women to indicate interest in the next year’s general election.
In Igboke’s words, “In this 2019 general election, women will vote more than men because currently we are being motivated by our party which has given us many positions in state government, we want more of this positions in 2019.
“Our women will get more positions in 2019 both elective and appointive, we are being more motivated that our effort during last election was not in vain. If the men makes the atmosphere conducive for women, in time to come we will vie for the post of Governor, Deputy Governor and even President”, she said.
Also speaking, zonal women leader of APC Ebonyi central, Mrs. Beatrice Nkwuda said: “APC as party in the state is prepared for 2019 election. We have made our women to know the value of Continuous Voter Registration which started last year; we have sensitized them enough.
“The APC has room for women participation in election, it has given us the opportunity to showcase ourselves and show our abilities to part of governance.
“Most of us are already preparing to vie for one position or the other in next year’s general election, our party is gender friendly and it will give us that chance.
“We are asking for 35 per cent of all the positions, the House of Assembly, the House of Reps and that of the senate from the zones and that is what we are going for. We are very optimistic that they will give us our own quota this time around”, she said.