By EricJames Ochigbo
Some women in Abuja have described the recent primary election of All Progressives Congress (APC) for forthcoming governorship poll in Anambra as “caricature of 35 per cent Affirmative Action for Women.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that in the primary election contested by 12 aspirants, the only female among them, Ms Adaobi Uchegbu, got only one vote.
It is believed that the vote scored by the lady may have come from her.
The winner of the election, Mr Tony Nwoye, had 2,146 votes.
In separate interviews, the women, who acknowledged that some delegates at the primary election were females deplored their “refusal” to vote for Uchebgu, “their own”.
They said that the action of the female delegates undermined the concept of gender equality, especially in politics.
One of them, Mrs Ogome Ukpe, said women needed to realise that politics was not like regular male and female relationship where “you protect your territory, not letting any other woman to come close.”
Ukpe said that women must wake up to the fact that politics was a game of number, and that with a united front, they could bring the dynamic power in them into nation-building.
According to her, women have made remarkable and significant impact in sports and other sectors but not so much has been achieved in politics.
“If women are able to support themselves, the men will have no choice than to recognise them as a force to partner, and that is only when much will be achieved by women in politics,” she said.
In her part, Ms Faith Nwadishi, a member of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said that the outcome of the primary election was unfortunate and heartbreaking.
According to her, the election showed that political parties are not ready to consciously put gender issues on their agenda.
Nwadishi recalled that some years ago, a female presidential candidate also had only one vote, saying that there was need for women to give themselves a prime place in politics.
She said that money politics was still playing out and that for as long as money was being used to buy votes, women would always be disadvantaged.
“If you go into what happened at that particular APC primary in Anambra, you will find out that a lot of the delegates were paid from the ward to the state level.
“As you know, people will ordinarily support who sponsored them.
“We need to completely de-emphasize money politics; we need to re-emphasize the need for political parties to put the issue of gender on their agenda.
“Until this is done, we shall continue to see such thing happen; it means we still have a long way to go in bringing women to the core of politics.
“It is not enough to be women leader or to being called upon to organise events,” she said.
An entrepreneur, Angela Noka, blamed poor performance of women in politics on poverty, saying it had robbed delegates and electorate of the freedom to make the right choice.
According to her, religion and culture are major factors limiting women in politics from getting to the top.
Noka said that a lot of women no longer believed in their fellow women to beat the men in politics hence they opt to support the men to win.
She called for reorientation of women and for free and fair polls as well as level-playing ground in all political contests “to attract noble women to the game”.