THE First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has appealed to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) not to allow women within the party to be robbed of their political aspirations just because they are given free nomination forms.
The First Lady made the appeal on Saturday during the Female APC Aspirants’ Summit, organised by the Office of the Women Leader of the ruling party with support from the International Republican Institute (IRI), at the State House Conference Center, Abuja.
Buhari reacted to complaints by women aspirants, who had on many occasions alleged being pressured to step down and give way to their male counterparts ahead of the 2023 elections.
The summit was to ensure the women come together, get educated, enlightened and equipped to ensure their victory at the 2023 forthcoming elections.
The party had last month declared free nomination forms for female aspirants who intend to contest.
According to Mrs. Buhari, she doesn’t believe in free gifts but expressed confidence that the party will not relegate women to the background.
“I stand before you today as a mother, as a leader, as a sister, believing that today’s summit will make a difference in our lives as women and mothers of the nation.
“To the chairman of our party, governors, and party executives, I commend your efforts in supporting women over the years. However, I would like to draw your attention that it is now time to believe in women more and show more solidarity with them.
“Distinguished guests, it is important to mention the efforts made by our great party towards promoting women’s participation in politics. I appreciate and commend the recent party’s gesture in offering free nomination forms to female aspirants.”
The wife of the Vice President, Dolapo Osinbajo, on her part, expressed confidence that the women are coming and won’t be stopped from getting a space at the table.
“There’s a question I’ve been asking and I’m still waiting for someone to give me a satisfactory answer. When you go to the hospital to have a child, whether the child is a boy or girl, we pay the same hospital fees. Is there anybody here that has paid higher school fees for boys and for girls? Is there anybody that paid a bus fare? Airplane tickets, train fair? Did you pay more or less because you’re a woman or a man? Do we pay the same thing? Get ready; get ready, because it’s time for us to take our seats at the table.”
“And as the representative of the national chairman said, we must follow through. You must go all the way to victory. Because when you sit at the table, you’re there to fight to ensure that it is well with the girls or the women. You’re there to fight for your mothers, your grandmothers, your daughters, your sisters, your aunties, your nieces, you’re also there to fight for your fathers and your sons and your brothers,” she said.
Mrs. Osinbajo urged the women to support one another, adding that like the image of the party, the broom represents, they can only succeed if they are bound together and fight.
The Deputy National Chairman (South) of APC, Chief Emma Eneukwu, on his part, urged the women to work hard to achieve results as the party has done its part by giving them free forms to encourage them.
Eneukwu, who represented the party’s National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said the party decided to give women prominence this time around because of their numbers and what they could bring to the table