“No Women; No Nation”!!! These were the chants summing up as inspirational euphoria when female aspirants across political parties in Nigeria were gathered at the just concluded 2019 General Elections Aspirants Summit in Abuja. The Summit, jointly convened by the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF), Women in Politics Forum (WIPF) and Women Radio sought to strengthen existing support systems for female aspirants in the 2019 general elections, and churn out strategies for engagement towards increasing the number of women who participate as candidates and eventually win elections in 2019.
Besides noting the summit as a mark of solidarity, the Chief Executive Officer of NWTF, Ms. Mufuliat Fijabi during her opening statements reemphasized that Nigeria cannot continue to be the giant of Africa with 5.8 percent of almost half of its population occupying elective seats at the national level. In the same vein the President, Women in Politics Forum, Barrister Ebere Ifendu, stressed that although women are key actors in the electoral process, their immerse contributions have not translated to their political development. In sharing similar opinions, Dr. Toun Okewale-Sonaiya, Chief Executive Officer, Women Radio FM 91.7, stated that until the equation of gender representation in governance is balanced or improved beyond was it is at the moment, Nigeria’s development will continue to experience stunted growth.
Following opening statements from the conveners, goodwill messages were given by notable stakeholders like His Excellency Mr Paul Lehmann – High Commissioner, Australian High Commission, Nigeria, Ms Comfort Lamptey – UN Women Country Representative for Nigeria and ECOWAS, Sentel Barnes – Chief of Party, International Republican Institute, Alhaji Muhamadu Lawal Nalado – Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council, Dr Adekunle.L. Ogunmola, National Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, MFR, JP, FiOD – National President of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture and Barrister Sharon Ekeazor, Executive Director PTAD
The summit also entailed technical sessions on Resource Mobilization for Campaigns by Uche Chuta, Media Visibility for Women Seeking Elective Positions by Mrs Moji Makanjuola & Dr Tosin Dokpesi and Negotiating Party Hurdles by Rt. Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola
As a major outcome from the Summit, the conveners announced their readiness to mobilize some level of resources for female aspirants who emerge as party candidates irrespective of their political affiliations. In a similar development, it introduced the new Four Point Agenda (FPA) to all political actors in Nigeria as “Campaign For Her; Vote Her; Fund Her; Pray For Her”.
This year’s General Women Aspirants Summit was supported by Australian Aid, UN Women, International of Republican Institute, DANA Air with visibility support from African Independent Television and Silverbird Television