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Obi, Kwankwaso, pledge inclusion of women, PWDs in govt

The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party, Isaac Idahosa, have signed the Governance Agenda for an Inclusive Nigeria document.

The document represents the needs and aspirations of persons with disabilities (PWDs) and women, collated through intensive research.

Mr Obi and Mr Idahosa signed the documents at the Public Presentation of the GAIN document, put together by the YouthHub Africa, Inclusive Friends Association, and the Women in Politics Forum, with the support of the National Democratic Institute, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Mr Obi, in his address, said there was no inclusiveness without women, youths, and persons with disabilities, and stressed that more women were needed in government, as they were the most productive part of the society.

The former Anambra State governor also emphasised the need to insist on “affirmative action” for women, and ensure that the agenda is documented, made into law and that everyone follows it.

“We can’t talk about the development of any society without being inclusive of the three, call it sectors,” he insisted.

“We cannot talk about development without women; we cannot talk about development without youths, and we can’t talk about it without persons with disability.

“For me in particular, women are the most productive parts of the society. We need to get them more and more involved, but for a society like Nigeria, we need to insist on affirmative action. I don’t think we can discuss until people agree to do it.

“We need to make sure it is documented, it is the law, and everybody will follow through with it.”

Mr Idahosa, who represented the Presidential Candidate of the NNPP, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, said the party had a “total package” plan for women in the party’s government, adding that anyone who undermined women in government did so at his own peril.

“We have a whole lot, total package for women. But affirmative action is determined by how many women have already been involved,” he stressed.

We are going to use what we have, but then to improve on the involvement of women in our government, and in our governance. You see, women have been relegated to the background until now. And we are now coming with a new Nigerian purposeful leadership, that is concerned to bringing inclusivity to our government. And anyone that undermines women, is to his own peril.”

The Programme Director of the National Democratic Institute, Batura Aga, said the implementation and the demand for accountability from the candidates who had signed the agenda was up to the public, noting that women, youth and PWD groups “have the numbers”.

The President of Women in Politics Forum, Ebere Ifendo emphasised that the document represented what women, youth and PWD groups wanted from government, adding that anyone who undermined the groups was not interested in winning the 2023 elections.

“In elections, you see that 50.82% women actually registered to vote, which shows that Nigerian women this time, will determine who will win election,” Mrs Ifendo said.

Youth, they are about 60%, persons with disabilities, they make up about 25 million. So, for three groups like that to come together, it shows that we are a very strong and formidable group. So anyone that undermines us really will show the person is not ready to win an election in 2023.”

The GAIN document is a collection of recommendations from the three “marginalised groups”, obtained through key informant interviews with 2,055 persons across the 36 states and the FCT.

Reporting by Daniel Adejo; Editing by Tony Okerafor