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2023: Nigerian women demand Chairmanship, Governorship slots in all political parties

By Chesa Chesa 

The Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF) has demanded that all political parties in the country make women their national chairpersons, as part of efforts to mitigate the undeserved neglect of women and their concerns in the nation’s political sphere and development.

The group also demanded that women be fielded as governorship candidates by the parties, while reserving 40 per cent of elective and appointive positions for females. 

These demands were made on Monday in Abuja during a press conference by NFF with the theme: The Role of Feminism in Advancing Women’s Rights in Nigeria.

According to the NFF’s Communications Officer, Angela Nkwo, who read the statement to journalists, Nigerian women deserve to have their political, socioeconomic, sexual rights e forced to enhance a general development of the country.

“The Nigerian Feminist Forum hereby calls for: All political party make women their National Chairpersons, especially the top-rated. This will help address the violence and patriarchy women experience in political parties. It is time to try a new process since they have failed us. 

“The NFF calls for a 40 per cent quota system strictly for women across the 18 accredited political parties for the 2023 general elections.

“We demand that women be fielded as governorship candidates especially the supposed big controlling parties. 

“To address insurgency and abuse of women, the NFF calls on the federal government to show commitment to the cause and announce women in the security agencies as service chiefs. They know where it pinches most. 

“We call on all the 36 states of Assembly to immediately pass the Violence Against Person (Prohibition)  {VAPP} bill into law to protect the rights of every person, women and girls inclusive.

“We call on women to register to vote in the ongoing voters registration. Further, we call on women to join political parties and to stand election.

“The NFF demands for respect of women and girls;· Economic and social welfare rights;· Sexual Health and Reproductive Rights;· Right to Education and Training;·  Right to Participation in Political and Decision-making processes· Marriage, Separation, Divorce and Women’s Property Rights;
“Domestication of the Maputo protocol”, she declared.

The NFF recalled that “after 22 years of undisrupted democracy in Nigeria, Nigerian women and girls are confronted with gross violation of their rights experienced via: violence in the home, sexual harassment at work and school, rape and defilement, harsh and punitive widowhood rites, female genital mutilation and cutting, forced childhood marriages, sexual violence in conflict situations and during armed robbery attacks, enforcement of gender biased laws, kidnap of school children especially girls, disinheritance of wives and daughters, and harmful traditional practices amongst others.  

“Women in Nigeria have suffered years of neglect, disrespect, abuse, and violence simply because of patriarchy. It is regrettable that despite all the laudable statistics nature has bestowed upon our nation, Nigerian women are still confronted with questionable norms and traditions that strive to reinforce patriarchy.”

The women pointed out that as the 2023 general elections approach, the NFF is concerned about the lack of representation of women and girls in every facet of the country, despite despite being almost half of the national population.
According to them: “We are tired of being used as though we are objects for negotiation, kidnapped as sex companions, and today many are in forests and forced marriages simply because of our gender, an act that is clearly modern-day slavery”.   
Nkwo, therefore, stressed that “our demands are based on the state of Nigeria and its attendant effect on us. We cannot continue with the current system, because it does no one any good. 

“The Nigerian system needs urgent intervention because women and girl’s matter. And the Nigerian Feminist Forum is committed to a better and safe system.”

The conference also featured a discussion session anchored by NFF National Coordinator, Blessing Duru, and had among the panelists Executive Director of Baobab for Women’s Rights, Ms. Bunmi Dipo-Salami; and Director of Research & Knowledge Management at The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs), Ms. Ohotuowo Ogbeche.

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