Mrs Florence Aya, the President of the Women Mentoring and Leadership Initiative says 18 women are aspiring for seats in the Senate, House of Representatives and State Assembly in the 2023 General Elections.
Aya, who made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Wednesday, said that the women would contest under different political parties.
She explained that a woman would contest a Senatorial seat, three others for the House of Representatives and the remaining 14 would compete for seats in the Kaduna State House of Assembly.
Aya, a Minority Leader in the Kaduna State Assembly from 1992 to 1993,she also represented Kaura Federal Constituency at the National Assembly from 1999 to 2003.
She expressed optimism that women would get a level playing field.
”In February, we launched Project 2023 Agenda for Women Participation, to mobilise more women to contest and participate effectively in the electoral process.
“Yesterday we had our first meeting for all the women who are aspiring to state assembly, house of reps and senate
“So far, 18 women who had declared interest to contest for various seats in the 2023 elections were at the meeting – one for Senate, three for House of Representatives and the 14 for State Assembly,” she said.
“This is a very bold step, and we are working with them, mentoring them and helping them to achieve their dreams,” she said.
Noting that the women were aspiring for elective positions in a men-dominated political party’s structure, the grassroots politician expressed hope that they would put up a good fight.
“We will get there because people are beginning to know the importance of women participation in politics now more than ever.
“We are working with the political parties to create spaces for women.
“We also had a discussion with key government officials and the Speaker of the Kaduna State Assembly to support our women to secure party’s tickets at the primary elections,” she said.
She added that the organisation was equally working closely with partners like Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn, a governance programme of the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Officer.
Others, according to her, are Gender Action Team and Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women, among others who mentor and mobilise support for women to get to where they want to be politically.
On women supporting women, Aya said:”it is very important that women should show support for one another before others will support us.
“It is an issue we are trying to address, and I want to assure you that in the next election (2023), there will be more women who will win elections by the grace of the almighty Allah,” she said.
NAN reports that there were only three women representatives in the Senate, representing 2.8 per cent of the 109 Senators between 1999 and 2003.
The number increased to nine, representing 8.3 per cent between 2007 and 2011, before dropping to eight members representing 7.3 per cent between 2019 to date.
At the House of Representatives, 13 women were elected in the 1999 election, representing 3.3 per cent of the 360 members. The number increased to 26, representing 7.2 per cent between 2011 and 2015.
The women’s seats in the House of Representatives dropped from 26 to 13 in 2019, representing 3.6 per cent.
At the State Assemblies, 24 women were elected in 1999, representing 2.4 per cent of the 990 members across the 36 states assemblies.
The number increased to 68, representing 6.9 per cent in 2003 before dropping to 45 in 2019, with 15 state assemblies with no female members. (NAN)