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Crisis looms in First Lady’s camp

The poor showing of women in the just concluded primaries of political parties has started causing ripples within the camp of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, founder Women For Change Initiative.

Some of the ardent followers of the initiative by the First Lady have been evpressing regrets that the gospel of 35 per cent women representation in national and state governments may not gel afterall as Nigeria marches to the fourth republic.

Indication to this effect emerged weekend as a group of women on the platform of National Women Rights Advocates expressed disappointment with the low return of women in the primaries of political parties, blaming the alleged inactions of the first lady for the development.

The group in its report on rimaries by political parties made available to Sunday Tribune expressed outrage on the failure by Mrs Sarah Jubril to record more than one vote during the just concluded PDP presidential primaries, describing the failure of the female presidential aspirant as a mark of collapse of the Women For Change Initiative.

According to the report compiled by Barrister Beatrice Maduemere, national co-ordinator and Honourable Ejembi Agnes, had the first lady and members of Women for Change Initiative lived up to the ideals they have been preaching, more women would have scaled the hurdles of the primaries by parties with their support.

The group specifically harped on the failure of many female members of the Senate and House of Representatives to obtain the tickets of their respective political parties, describing it as utterly disappointing.

The group expressed fears that many more women may drop out of the on-going political process, moreso in the coming April polls as it queried the relevance of Women For Change initiative.

It said, “When the first lady came up with the idea of pushing for 35 per cent female representation in politics at all levels, we thought time had come for Nigerian women to take their rightful place in our overall politics. But the exclusion of many women in the build up to next elections by parties with the seeming helplessness by the first lady has started lowering our morale.

“The first lady had embarked on jamborees with tours across the country in attempts at selling the Women For Change Initiative. We are dismayed that the opposite of the necessary change for the Nigerian women failed to take their campaigns beyond rhetorics and jamborees. This is sad and quite disappointing. We mourn this hour as our mothers, sisters, co-activists and friends are dropping off from mainstream political events courtesy of the conspiracy of political parties, while women leaders in our country fold their arms.”

The National Women Rights Advocate, however, said it would appreciate any political party that will offer the highest number of slots to women for the April general elections through an award it would package with reputable international organisations with bias for women.

Since she took the Women for Change initiative as her pet project, the wife of President Jonathan has been mobilising the Nigerian women, essentially for wider participation in politics, emphasising on the necessity for not less than 35 per cent representation in government.

She had equally embarked on nationwide tours during which she launched her pet project with women in each state that she visited pledging support for the project.

 -Tribune

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