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MINISTER WANTS FEMALE ASPIRANTS TO DECAMP

By NBF News
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MINISTER of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Josephine Anineh, has expressed displeasure over the results so far released from the primaries of the various political parties, stressing that they have not favoured women and the affirmative action principle, which Nigeria is signatory to.

Blaming the outcome of the primaries on the political structure that is mainly dominated by men, the minister charged female aspirants not to rest on their oars but to forge ahead and seek ways of achieving the 35 per cent affirmative action.

Speaking during a capacity building workshop for various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) handling women's political issues, Anenih said the results released so far were not in any way commensurate with the level of women's political awareness carried out by her ministry since her assumption of office last year.

She advised female political aspirants who lost in their various parties not to hesitate to decamp to other political parties to actualise their ambitions.

She said: 'With the level of resources that have been utilised, the percentage of women that have so far emerged as winners in the primaries is still very small. I wonder what will happen if we are not able to achieve the 35 per cent affirmative action in the coming elections.

Could it be that the women have not been showing interest or is it the party structure that has been populated by men that is causing this?'

She, however, noted that the pervasiveness of violence in politics, the non-participation of women in party hierarchy, poor educational status of women and lack of funds for campaigns, had been the major impediments confronting women during political periods.

Anenih admonished programme managers of the various NGOs to engage the populace in order to bring about a change in the situation of Nigerian women during the elections.

Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Idris Kuta, in his welcome address at the workshop, said the ministry was working with about 300 registered NGOs across the country and urged the participants to come up with detailed information on how to advance the cause of women after the workshop.

The minister visited the victims of the New Year Eve's Abuja bomb blast.

Anineh, who was at the State House Medical Centre, Asokoro District Hospital and National Hospital, Abuja, prayed for their quick recovery and urged them not to lose hope.

The minister also visited widow of the late Mr. Lanre Nurein, who got burnt at the scene of the blast.