Executive Director of the Humanity Family Foundation For Peace and Development (HUFFPED), Mrs. Adekemi Adeyeye has called on Nigerian women to ensure participation in the electoral process.
Speaking during an empowerment program in Ikorodu recently, Adeyeye said women, like their male counterparts also have the rights to aspire for elective offices once they are qualified.
She however encouraged women to overcome whatever barrier the society has placed before them and ensure adequate participation in the electoral process.
The event, facilitated in conjunction with Women’s Right and Health Project (WRAHP), had the support of ActionAid Nigeria. It was funded by Global Affairs Canada through the Women’s Voice and Leadership Nigeria Project and held in Majidun and Ebute communities in Ikorodu, Lagos recently.
The programme also featured several presentations including voter education and vocational training for women participants in the grassroots communities.
“We are talking about empowerment for women and girls, we at HUFFPED have been in the race for a very long time and we have a lot of success stories about it. We have been using the citizens and association methodology which is really working for us and is teaching our women and girls the saving culture,” Adeyeye said.
She explained further on the loan facility the organisation uses in assisting women in the grassroots. “We also use revolving loan which makes the little money we have to go round everybody and everybody becomes everybody’s monitor and the next person to receive the money already knows and it also curbs women’s excesses on spending money on things that are not really necessary,” she explained.
“So when a woman has her own means of livelihood and can contribute her own quota to the family, she begins to have a voice unlike when she does not have anything to fall back on and she would be able to say no to anything she does not want,” she said.
Wife of the Baale of Majidun-Awori, Mrs. Solomon Susan was particularly worried about domestic violence which is becoming rampant in the community.
“What I understand is that gender based violence is rampant in our community. We have men that beat their wives. Some of these women are even bread winners but when their husbands demand for money and they don’t have to give them, they start beating them as if they are noting or as if they have not been giving them money before,” she lamented.
The community leader however wants the government to come to the aid of the community. “If the government can help us and find solution to this problem may be the problem can be solved,” she hoped, adding that, women also do abuse their children.
Addressing women at the event held at Ibeshe, Ikorodu, Chief Programme Officer of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Imota, Ikorodu office, Mrs. Adejoke Ologunagba enjoined the women to ensure adequate participation in politics at their level in order to be able to contribute their quota to development.
“We just had the party primaries in Lagos State. Women too can participate in politics, they can vote and be voted for but women often believe that only the men can contest. They should know that once you are a card carrying member of a party, you can contest,” she said.
She however enjoined the women to be visible in their political parties. “Once you don’t attend meetings, you don’t participate in whatever they are doing you cannot aspire,” she said, adding that women are more in the voters’ population and should participate in the electoral process.
“We at the NOA have continued to sensitise women to participate because if they don’t participate, nobody will drag them into it,” she said.
A community leader at Ibeshe area of Ikorodu, Mrs. Ehigiator at the event however applauded the women for always being active at the community meetings. “When it comes to community work, women are trying in attendance in this our locality. Some of us including myself have served at various capacities in the community. I was once an Executive Member and we tried our best. If there is enough and regular sensitisation, I believe the percentage of women in leadership would improve,” she said.
Ehigiator added that, “In politics today, once you stand your ground that you will not be corrupt, the corrupt ones would think you are going to betray them and they would start planning against you because you want to be different. There is nothing stopping women who are qualified to get into the ring,” she said.
Meanwhile, facilitators took the participants through some vocational trainings including baking and home keeping which was a delightful experience for all participants.