There are over 250 female aspirants in the the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) vying for different elective positions in the 2023 general elections.
They are aspirants for presidency, governorship, senate, House of Representatives and state houses of assembly and are drawn from different states across the country.
The National Women Leader of the party, Stella Effah-Attoe, disclosed this when she met with the aspirants in Abuja on Monday.
The figure, she noted, was made of aspirants who have filled and submitted their nomination forms.
The interactive meeting, which held at the PDP National Secretarial, was aimed at enhancing women’s participation in politics as well as creating avenues for female aspirants to win tickets and subsequently, elections at various levels.
In her welcome address, Ms Effah-Attoe said the meeting was necessitated by the desire to take the bull by the horns and ensure that the women do not only come out to participate in politics but participate meaningfully and win elections.
It also sought to allow aspirants and women leaders of the party to share ideas with veterans and tap from their wealth of experience and understand the pros and cons of women participation in politics with a view to proffering solutions.
She also hoped that the meeting will help the party plan for the future and monitor performance of women.
While she urged women to take politics seriously like the men, the leader also stressed the need to identify ways to make more women emerge after the primaries.
A former PDP National Woman Leader, Josephine Anenih, urged the aspirants to do a soul-searching.
Some aspirants, she said, get the nomination form because it is free, settle with other aspirants for juicy appointments, some get it for the sake of the title “aspirant”, while other get the forms to actually run and win.
“The first two categories give our struggle and party a bad name,” she said.
The aspirants were also asked to learn public speaking, seek funds and respect the local zoning arrangement in their areas or risk wasting the ticket.
She also emphasised the importance of working with political gatekeepers like governors and state party chairmen and not just rely on the 35 per cent Affirmative Action to get more women into elective positions.
“If you are not qualified and nobody knows you in your place, you won’t get the seat you are looking for… The 35 per cent affirmative action we are clamouring for is not magic. We must work hard for it. Don’t give PDP a bad name by saying women are marginalised. If you are qualified you will be given a chance.
“You must learn to involve your local leaders and recognise them. Even if the chairman does not like you, there are people you know who he respects. Use them to get to him,” Mrs Anenih, a former Women Affairs Minister, said.
Speaking with journalists after the event, a female presidential aspirant, Teriela Diana, expressed confidence and determination to win the ticket and eventually, the main election in 2023.
She however, frowned at the idea of zoning – a tradition, she described as unfair.
“We have over 200 ethnic groups in this country and we are talking about zoning. When are you going to zone to over 200 ethnic groups. What policies are we putting in place…?”
At the end, aspirants were assured of the support of the party even as they were urged to attend political meetings regularly as part of the decision-making process.