A total of 250 female aspirants have obtained Expression of Interest forms to run for seats ranging from presidential to State Houses of Assembly on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). It is also reported that a high number of women have indicated interest in APC as well.
If it is true, both political parties must be commended for giving women this kind of opportunity to participate in governance. It is a sign that more women are taking the struggle for elective office seriously and the parties have become more flexible in their attitude towards the women folk. We here at The Trumpet call on these female aspirants to serve as good ambassadors for women and prove to the nation that including more women in governance brings about positive change and development.
Since the nation’s return to democracy, no State has elected a female Governor. There had been some tokenism in this direction as Lagos, Ekiti, Ogun, and Anambra States had produced Deputy Governors in the past. The nation has not produced a female Vice President. In terms of appointive positions, women have not fared as well as their male counterparts. There is something retrogressively cultural about excluding women from the political space. If therefore 250 women have picked up forms, it is a landmark. It deserves commendation.
Currently, Nigerians have genuine anxieties over the 2023 elections and the candidates running for various offices. Nigerians do not know whom to trust. This is therefore an opportunity for the women aspirants to show that they are the embodiment of the change Nigeria so desperately needs. Indeed, one good thing about bringing in more women is that we will escape the endless recycling of the same old faces during every election. This is women’s chance to prove that the 35% Affirmative Action agitated for will be a welcome development in Nigeria.
When elected, these women should do their utmost to serve the people conscientiously and avoid the pitfalls of some of their predecessors who became distracted by the pursuit of material wealth and ended up looting the nation and spoiling the name of women in the process. We call on these aspirants to be hardworking and upright, to shun dirty politics and avoid the unfortunate practice common among politicians of encouraging and employing thugs which destroys the lives and futures of many Nigerian youths. We call on these women to avoid the practice of buying votes or bribing voters with gifts. Nigerian voters are now wise to such tricks and any politician who engages in such acts only earns the outward and insincere praise of Nigerians but on the inside Nigerians do not respect such a person.
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Let clean politics be the watchword of these women aspirants and let them be honest to the people during campaigns and avoid making grandiose promises that they know will be impossible to fulfill. Let them also remember that they got the nomination forms virtually free. This places a huge responsibility on their shoulders because whereas a woman professor, for example, could run for the office of president, a male professor would still have to find millions of naira to purchase the same nomination form. These women should therefore not turn around and bite the hand that fed them but should instead prove that the trust placed in them to run for office is justified.
There is some concern that some of the aspirants do not actually intend to run for office but intend to strike a bargain with other more powerful aspirants for lucrative positions in government. If this is the case, such aspirants have no business indicating their interests in the first place since their motives are obviously selfish. Those who wish to serve our country must be willing to be more than just aspirants. They must be willing to run the race, convince the people that they are qualified for the job, and strive to win at the elections. Nigerians have suffered enough in the hands of unscrupulous politicians. We call on Nigerians to vote massively for women on election day. A change in our political fortunes could arise from a high presence of women in political offices across the country.
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