Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Woman Leader/Representative in Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, of the All Progressives Congress, Stella Okotete, has declared that women votes will be a key determiner of candidates to be elected as state/federal legislators, governors and the President.
Ms Okotete made the declaration on Friday at the formal launch of the Progressive Young Women Forum at Buhari House, the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.
The women leadersaid: “Women, particularly young females form a bulk of registered voters in the country and we will define and determine who governs our states, govern Nigeria. Roughly 50% of the Nigerian populations are women. Imagine if we have 43% committed as progressive women, will anybody be a president without us?”
The Progressive Young Women Forum is supported by the International Republican Institute, IRI.
Ms Okotete called on women to cooperate and forge a united front to ensure more women occupy more elective positions in the party and government.
“As we go into heightened electioneering in 2022, women are in the best position to change Nigeria, to achieve this women need a united front. We need to continue to support women to win elections.
“The coming APC congresses provide one of the best opportunities that women in this room have to properly position themselves in party administration. So if you do not have your membership card, quickly go and get it.
“If women occupy party positions at for example the local government, you are not only there for yourself but also sitting on the table on behalf of other women to determine who gets elective positions in your constituency and the entire state,” she said.
Ms Okotete maintained that APC women were no longer contented with the single position of the office of woman leader which is customarily allocated to them.
She stated that lobby was already ongoing towards ensuring women occupy minimum of 13 positions in the Party’s ward, local government and State levels in the coming APC congresses.
The APC national woman leader noted that there was need to groom more young women who would fill the leadership vacuum available by imbibing leadership qualities in them so that they can take over from older ones.
She advised the young women to make sure the purpose of their playing politics should be to impact the lives of the people and not to make money.
“Politics should be all about touching lives and not to make money. We have very few women sitting on the table. We need to wake ourselves up, particularly, we the young generation.
“We need to have a platform. We need to have a unity vehicle that will change the narrative for more women representation and visibility in public service and government.
“The APC manifesto and constitution encourage women to sit on the table. I have had discussions with the men and the question they ask is where are the women?
“Young Progressives Women Forum is created to develop the leadership quality that is needed for young women to take their place on the decision table and to develop the political power of young women in Nigeria,” Ms Okotete said.
She continued: “Despite our active role in politics, campaigns and election , women continue to lack access to political leadership opportunities and resources at all levels of government.
“The exclusion of young women from the adoption of laws, negotiation of budgets and mechanisms to hold governments to account undermines the valuable contributions they make for the good of future generations.
“Their participation in formal politics is especially important, as young women are leading change on issues like climate change, racial justice and gender equality. They are powerful advocates for intergenerational collaboration and accountability towards a more just, sustainable and equal world.
“This Forum identifies three priority areas for increasing young women’s representation in politics namely, Nurturing Young Women’s Political Aspirations; Supporting Young Women Candidates For Political Office and Empowering Young Women In Office to mentor and be mentored by women in politics, business and humanitarian services.
“Progressive Young Women Forum is a platform designed to holistically invests in the leadership and political power of young women in Nigeria.”