If PDP members/delegates elect Dr. Betty Ihuaku Nnadi ,National Woman Leader during the Saturday March 24 Convention in Abuja, Nigerians and Nigerian women can expect to see the emergence in 2015 of “at least 6 female Governors, one per zone, 30 women senators and 60 female members of the House Of Representatives.” This is the feat she says she has set out to achieve via a three-pronged approach she has code-named 3 Es: Encouragement, Empowerment and Enlightenment. Nnadi spoke in Abuja a day before a one-day symposium organized by Ret Age Centre where she also sent expected to Keynote lecture on: Strategic Positioning Of Nigerian Woman Towards Nation Building.
She noted that it is impossible to achieve meaningful development if we leave out women, as it is also impossible to have any socio-cultural, economic and political transformation if we leave out the very crucial half of our population, arguing that it is women who understand the health challenges of women and children and even the men. Women, she added, also bear the brunt of unemployed youths as well as issues of insecurity. She explained how women become widows left to take care of their children with hardly any means of livelihood, one of the many problems she hopes to tackle if she emerges the National Woman Leader of the ruling PDP.
Nnadi is unhappy that despite the fact that “Nigerian women have been in the fore- front of nation building, are politically aware and constitute over 65% of the population, they have continued to be short-changed, and the challenges that women face in politics are still very much with us.”
She enumerated the challenges as including discrimination, socio-cultural, economic and political, stressing that the obstacles rather than abate, are in fact on the increase, despite the fact that Nigerian women have excelled in various fields of endeavor and are celebrated at home and abroad.
A founding member of PDP London, who has remained active since returning to Nigeria, is from Imo State. She recalls that in 1999, while 978 men were elected into state houses of Assembly only 12 women were elected. Out of 109 Senators only 3 women were elected, 347 men got elected in the HOR against 13 women & produced one Deputy Governor; who did not return in 2003. In 2007, out of the 7160 contestants, only 628 women participated, out of the 25 candidates that contested for the highest office- President, only one woman participated while 14 vied for the office of the Vice President. 474 candidates contested for the gubernatorial elections out which only 14 were women vied and lost out to men.
Only 5 got to be Deputy Governors (Imo, Plateau, Ekiti, Lagos and Osun States). Only 9 female Senators out of the 109, 27 women out of the 360 members of the House of Representatives, despite the campaigns and media blitz that preceded the 2011 elections – women therefore performed below the three previous elections indicating there is a problem somewhere.
They produced only 1 female Deputy Governor, Out of 109 Senators 7 females got in (6.4 %). For House of Representatives only 19 females got elected out of the 360. Only one female Deputy Governor and one female Speaker got elected. Out of 42 Federal Ministers only 13 are women (32%). These figures are disappointing, and women have vowed to address the reasons which led to the poor performance of women and ensure that women have a fair share in elective and appointive positions, hence forth.
Earlier in her welcome address, Dr. Mercy Sokomba, the Executive Director at RetAge Centre ( an advocacy group which seeks to provide avenues for the vulnerable segments of society such as the elderly, women and those living with disabilities to participate positively in national life and governance), noted that one of the objectives of our Awareness and Advocacy Programme is to encourage senior citizens to carry out their civic responsibilities where and when they can, especially where they are physically, mentally capable and in perfect health. It is for this reason we are strongly behind Dr. Betty Nnadi in her desire to occupy the position of Woman Leader in her Party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Her profile/ antecedent makes her a woman to watch our for, a woman capable of any political leadership/ office in Nigeria. She is the Theme Speaker for the Symposium. Please permit me to read her brief profile and you will agree with me that this intellectual, farmer, accomplished mother and astute politician deserves not only every encouragement but a platform to help in the transformation process of Nigeria.
The objectives of the Center are realized through advocacy, awareness programmes and projects, research and publications, training/capacity building etc. Some of our programmes include Community Based Care for the Elderly, Awareness and Advocacy Programme (AAP), Intergenerational Linkage Programme, Micro Finance and Accessibility to Capital Resources among other strategies.
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