By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Minister of Women Affairs, Paullen Tallen, has called for an equal power sharing formula with men, saying that women are ready to give whatever the requirements are during sale of forms.
Briefing journalists at the APC national Secretariat in Abuja after submitting a memoranda on how to ensure affirmative action for women to the party Constitutions review committee, Tallen said “We demand for affirmative action. You will agree with me that women toil and give the highest votes of all the elections. The absence of women in the party structure is what bothers women. We are here to demand for the amendment.
“We are aware last week, the party inaugurated the Committee for the amendment of its constitution. Immediately we heard about the constitution of the Committee, we swing into action. We happened to be the first because we agree that we are the most marginalized. And that is unacceptable for national development. We are here to demand for affirmative action.
“We need more women in the party structure and for all elections. We are demanding that no gender, women or men should occupy more than 60% as against the other. We are demanding for gender equality. We are demanding for full participation and representation of women in the party structure and all elective seats in our dear country Nigeria.
On what percentage women desire in elective positions alongside men, she said “50/50%. Gender equality. That is what the world is advocating for. And, we came at the right time. This is the month of women all over the world. The UN has declared not only the 8 of March but the whole month of March to address issues affecting women and children.
“We are mothers in the land. The world is focusing on women. We want Nigeria to be the lead country in Africa. Other African countries have set the pace. We want to take that leadership role that they all look up to us. We can do it. There is nothing impossible about it. We love Mr President and we are supporting him. We want Mr President to lend his voice on this matter as the leader of the party. We are calling on all men of goodwill to lend their voice so that we can have gender parity.”
On why women vote against women during elections, and why it is difficult for women to use their numerical strength to win elections, the ministers said “That is one of the amendment we are asking for. We are saying that delegate election is not democratic. We are demanding for open elections. Option A4. Direct primaries. That is more democratic.
“That is how you will know the true representative of the people. We are afraid to contest election. We want a level playing ground. Women don’t have money like the men to buy delegates. How can you take in a ward of over three thousand people, just three people to represent them? Of course, those three people you wont see them. They will smuggle them in on the hour of voting.
“They keep them away and bring them out on the hour of election. Until we allow the will of the people. It is a democratic system. And it calls for direct primaries. If you don’t want to win the primaries you cannot contest. And it is not that women are not accepted. We are loved. Women identify with their people at the grassroots but their hands are tied. It is just three people that represent thousands at the delegate election. We say no to it. We are asking for direct primaries at all levels.”