The League of Women Voters in Nigeria has issued demands on all political [parties ahead of 2019 polls, demanding the office of the Vice President and a wholesale enforcement of the 35 percent affirmative action in appointments.
In a statement signed by its National President, Dr Esther Uduehi, a former Presidential Adviser, the league further demanded that parties should field female governorship aspirants in at least 12 states while all male governorship candidates should have a woman as running mates.
The full statement from the League reads as follows:
“As we advocate for maximum voters registration and collection of PVCs to ensure greater turn out in future elections in Nigeria, the League of Women Voters is calling on all Nigerians to join us in
agitating for good governance and the ACTUALIZATION of the 35% Affirmative Action for Women in Nigeria.
“In the build up to the 2019 Elections in Nigeria, we are asking the political parties and INEC to fully PUT their policy on women into ACTION. We observe that all the political parties have the 35% Affirmative action as a matter of policy but have only paid lip service to it.
“In like manner, INEC has Gender Policy but has never put it to ACTION. It is the belief of the League of Women Voters of Nigeria that INEC is in a position to meet with the various political parties and work out ways and means of achieving the gender goals. Nigeria is not an affair for the men alone and we need the full participation of both men and women to develop the country.
“Therefore in the build up to the 2019 Election s, the League of Women Voters of Nigeria is asking for the Following:
1) The Position of the Vice President of Nigeria: All Parties, which are not fielding women as presidential candidates should as a matter of policy, field a female Vice Presidential Candidate. We believe this is the least Nigerian women deserve;
2) All Parties should field women as gubernatorial candidates in at least 12 States of Nigeria;
3) All male governorship candidates should have women as their running mates;
4) At the end of the day if we fail to get the President or Vice President, we demand the next office i.e. that of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. The same applies at the State Level;
5) We demand that every state in Nigeria should return at least one female Senator out of the 3 from each State;
6) We demand that each State should produce a minimum of 2 FEMALE members of the House of Representatives;
7) We Demand that one of the Chambers of the National Assembly should be HEADED by a WOMAN and that the List of Principal Officers in both Chambers should be equally divided;and
8) At the State Assemblies, we wish to see no less than 12 Speakers of the State Assemblies and with many Women making the list of Principal Officers. We want to see at least 35 % of the membership of each State Assembly as women.
“We believe that this is possible and doable if there is the political will and if the various parties and INEC are serious about the gender policies and work hand in hand to achieve the same. An appointment to offices is easier to do if there is a political will, and we do not envisage much problems meeting the 35% in the area of appointments.
“We demand BETTER LIVING conditions and maximum security for every Nigerian but most importantly for the women and the youths.
“Our Advocacy will FOCUS on these issues from now till after the elections. We shall engage all the Political Parties and INEC and we shall encourage Women to stand up for all QUALIFIED Female Candidates. We have used the word 'qualified' because we believe in quality and integrity. Women must put forward their first eleven in all cases so that there will be no reason to reject them. We encourage women not to fight themselves but to agree amongst themselves on who should or should not come out, and once this is done, we shall all chest out for them.
“The League believes that WOMEN are in a better position to PERFECT democracy and create a better Society. Together we can and we can make the difference!
Dr Esther Uduehi