Party supporters dance carries a banner with picture of Nigerian President and Presidential candidate of the ruling People's Democratic Party Goodluck Jonathan during a rally in Lagos on January 8, 2015. Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan on Thurs ~ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
Abuja - The Presidential candidate of KOWA party, Mrs Oluremi Sonaiya, on Thursday advised women in Nigeria to seek more of elective positions than appointive.
Sonaiya made the call in a Twitter Conference Situation organised by the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) in Abuja.
She said women were highly needed in the decision-making level of the country, adding that their voices and ideas were very significant.
"Women voices and ideas are critical. In Nigeria, women still struggle for space in political parties."
The presidential candidate said that women had the capacity of multi-tasking, adding that they can achieve whatever agenda they embarked on.
She stressed that the participation of more women in the political process of the country would "really serve to mentor other women rather than arranging women cheerleading activities."
Sonaiya said women should be part of those demanding for and bringing the type of change they wished to see.
"All disadvantaged subpopulations must be made to know that they matter."
She said Rwanda had included women in its political process which had now earned them 47.3 per cent recognition.
The presidential candidate recommended more advocacy to ensure more inclusion of women in the elective process.
Mr Tunji Lardner, Executive Director of West African NGO Network (WANGONet), said the country needed qualitative women leadership.
Lardner stated that qualitative women leadership would engender enlightened quantitative followership.
He added that the elevated interest of women into higher offices increases the risk of being vilified.
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Mrs Amy Oyekunle, Executive Director of Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), said Nigeria needed women in the political sphere and not observers.
Oyekunle added that women needed to be engaged as active participants in political struggle.
"Women, not being in the political space, are a symbol of deeply entrenched stereotypes.
"We need to create more affirmative actions like providing more quotas for women participation", she said.
Ms Ayisha Osori, Chief Executive Officer of NWTF, said Nigeria had the challenge of political infrastructure adding that politics was so lucrative.
Osori held that independent candidacy was a way to free women and political contestants from the tyranny of major political parties.
The CEO said that the result of the 2014 primaries were still poor irrespective of the 35 per cent elective positions meant for women in the country.
"The participation of women in politics is still struggling with 15 per cent which means that we are still below 35 per cent", she said.
She said Enugu, Anambra and Delta States emerged top on the list for women participation in the last primaries.
Osori, however, stated that it was only the men who go extra miles to launch attack on their opponents when they lose.
"Men go as far as hiring assassins to kill each other just to win elective positions but we hardly hear of any woman doing that.
"So, it is very crucial that Nigerians encourage women to contest for elective positions because we are not after violence", she said.
She encouraged women to compete for more political positions and take up leadership roles instead of supportive.
Osori also advised women not to harbour inferiority complex that could dissuade them from aiming at leadership positions.
The theme of the conference was: "2014 Primaries: What the numbers tell us", was aimed at analysing the performance of women in the 2014 parties’ primaries.