The Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF) with support from the UN Women Nigeria with support from the Canadian High Commission, Nigeria , organized a two-day National Dialogue on “Strengthening Women’s Political Participation: A Dialogue between Young Women and Women Politicians” The two day National Dialogue created a channel for an all interactive and expository learning session for young women politicians.
In her welcome remarks, Ms. Mufuliat Fijabi, the Chief Executive officer of the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund pointed out that increased interaction between young and older women in politics will contribute to expanding the pool of women politicians, as well as serve as a strategic build-up towards closing the gender gaps at all levels of governance in the country.
She added that the dialogue would help to debunk myths and identify obstacles to young women’s active and constructive involvement in the electoral process as women are key potential agents of growth, development and democratization in Nigeria. With the recently passed Age Reduction Bill, there was need to continuously engage with young women in order to prepare them for future politicking, she ended.
Ms. Comfort Lamptey, Country Representative, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in Nigeria, while giving her goodwill remarks called for increased youth representation in governance in Nigeria. In her words, “If we have a world where young people in Africa are going to be dominant, we cannot be waiting for young people to take over leadership, they have to lead from now”. She reiterated that organized initiatives like this dialogue will build an army of transformative women to take over the responsibility of leadership in the Country.
In his goodwill message, Daniel Arsenault, the Head of Cooperation of the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria, opined that elective institutions will be more effective when women were inclusive and their voices heard. In his words, the rights of women and girls in the world are central and important to the Canadian government which is evident in his Country’s feminist policy.
He also revealed that the Commission celebrated the success of the #NotTooYoungToRun campaign, adding that it has provided a great opportunity for youths especially young women who are interested in politics but were limited by age.
The event was also graced by veteran politicians and mentors like Iyom Josephine Anenih, Hajiya Saudatu Sani, Mrs Ireti Kingibe, Hajiya Bilkisu Magoro, Ayisha Osori, Barrister Ebere Efendu, Barrister Dan Nwuanyanwu, and a representative from the Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC). The dialogue and mentorship session was intense with a lot of experience sharing on joining political parties and sustaining the activism, raising resource for political participation, organizing a political campaign, preparing to contest an election and volunteering on an election campaign. The young women were also encouraged to stay relevant, focused and goal oriented in politics.