Date of event: 22nd June 2019

For the past couple of days, some women gathered in a top rank venue in Abuja to examine gender participation in the 2019 elections and promote fair participation in politics ahead of 2023. Some of the speakers opined that women in Nigeria do not sufficiently engage in public interest debates. Hence, should step up in the media on “irrelevancies”, take steps that are newsworthy, write, grant interviews and support each other. A female Rivers delegate enthused that it is important for ladies to support and fund Women in politics. Women in Business were called upon to support women in politics and advise was given for women politicians to have a work plan in the course of campaigns. A notable quote from the session goes as follows: "when you support someone to win an election, they should support your work or business so that you don’t burn out. They should bear in mind that they have to give back to their benefactors. Anyone who sets out to stultify your work after they had been beneficiaries must be bad." VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN POLITICS–. One INEC female staff was raped and another Lady killed in Rivers State. LEGISLATION RESERVING SEATS FOR WOMEN:- Conference agreed that legislation allocating seats to women would upscale political activities. INEC National Commissioners presented positions:- a) Mrs. May Mbu National Commissioner, (Legal Dept) called attention to section 31(1) of the Electoral Act that: 31. (1) Every political party shall not later than 60 days before the date appointed for a general election under the provisions of this Act, submit to the Commission in the prescribed forms the list of the candidates the party proposes to sponsor at the elections.” Lady May Mbu said INEC has no option but to accept the list of candidates as presented by the parties and that she does not see any reason why the law should not be changed to ensure a gender spread. INEC Commissioner Professor Anthonia, Monitoring said she welcomes workable strategies from participants. She represented the Chairman of INEC Professor Yakubu in presenting goodwill messages from INEC. The First Lady of Nigeria was represented by Mrs. Pauline Tallen former Minister and former Deputy Governor of Plateau State who in her speech welcomed everyone particularly the female Deputy Gov of Kaduna. Mrs. Tallen gave as an example of her late husband’s 99% support of her political career, and that she and Mrs. Josephine Anenih - former Minister of Women Affairs who was also amiable and present thereat agreed that women politicians should receive spousal support or godfather’s support. She probably was unmindful of being capable of being a “godmother” herself. Aisha Buhari easily passes as a godmother considering the First Lady is active politically. There are godfathers and godmothers even in Nigerian Bar Association of those who speak powerfully and passionately and consistently over long years for women empowerment and have won some important Constitutional Law and gender rights struggles in contemporary times. Mrs. Pauline Tallen drew an analogy from Lagos State and expressed the views that to be able to move towards fair representation, women in Nigeria should do things differently. INTERROGATION: To Win gender struggles in Nigeria, what works? Soft strategy or hard/pugilist (pound) strategy or both approaches work?. 99% of Nigerian women usually go very soft and so why are they being terribly short-changed? -Dame Carol Ajie