Politically-influential women in Lagos and its environs gathered together at the Eko Hotel and Suites, yesterday (Thursday), to express their thoughts and garner momentum in preparation for the 2019 election year and beyond, at the 2018 WIMPOL Workshop.
The event, under the auspices of the WIMBIZ Group, had the theme, Politics 101: The Winning Formula, and had the publisher of Business Eye Magazine, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari; former Nigerian Ambassador , Ambassador Folake Marcus-Bello, and three -time member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Nnenna Elendu Ukeje, as panelists, while Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello moderated.
In her submission, Semenitari insisted that women were the greatest problems of women because of the crab mentality of pulling themselves down from the line of progress.
She also stated that being in politics is not an easy task, especially for women, as they had to find a way to balance their acts between politics, their home fronts and other demanding tasks.
“Moreover, I decided in my ward that all councils had to have at least 30 per cent women representation. You should also realise that you need to be able to fund candidates to be influential in politics.
“Also, if you want to be influential, you need to know how to play the game and play it right. You must seize and own political structures, legitimately, but above all, maintain your integrity, because people will surely come back to look for loopholes,” Semenitari said.
In her own speech, Mrs. Josephine Anenih, the women leader of the PDP, said being a wife to an influential figure had its own pros and cons, but had mainly been a challenge for her.
“If not for this, I would have been the first female minister in President Obasanjo’s first term, but because my husband was a minister, that stunted my chances,” she stated.
She added: “Nobody will give spaces to women, if they do not carve spaces for themselves. If WIMPOL really wants to enter into politics, they should make sure they have good money.
“Godfatherism will never die in Nigerian politics, so we also need godmotherism in the nation’s political space. So, we decided to form the Women-for-Women Movement to support women in their endeavours, and we need to collaborate on many fronts to support ourselves.”
Abiola-Costello stated that women representation in the National Assembly was only about six to seven per cent, while in some other West African countries, it is up to 30 per cent.
On her part, Ambassador Marcus-Bello implored women to get registered, get others registered, and make sure they vote and get others to vote. “The political space is a battle front where women participants are labelled, so be prepared to be labelled.”
Honourable Ukeje thanked WIMPOL for the pragmatic approach to the political workshop and conversations, adding that societies that have more women in elected positions are better societies.
“Fringe parties hardly win elections, so endeavour to join the established ones, and moreover, pay any price to protect your brand, because that is all you have, and build a brand that resonates with the people.”
During the interactive session, former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) deputy governor, and presidential hopeful, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, said he had made himself available for political service, and was going to see to it that the long-standing gender war comes to an end.
He promised to ensure a 50-50 representation for both genders in all appointments under his administration, if given the opportunity to serve.