Female members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC), have demanded the adoption of the ‘Option A4’ mechanism in picking flag-bearers of the party in various elections, saying it is the only way to ensure gender mainstreaming in Nigeria’s political space.
Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen made the demand yesterday in Abuja, shortly after presenting a shopping list to the Prof. Tahir Mamman-led Constitution Review Committee of the party.
The minister also demanded a 50 percent representation for women across all elective positions in the party, saying it is not fair to have only one woman among administrators of the party.
Addressing journalists shortly after her presentation, Tallen said, “We demand for affirmative action. You will agree with me that women toil and give the highest votes at all elections. The absence of women in the party structure is what bothers women. We are here to demand for the amendment.
According to her, “We are the most marginalised and that is unacceptable for national development. We are here to demand for affirmative action. We need more women in the party structure and for all elections. We are demanding that no gender, women or men should occupy more than 60% as against the other. We are demanding for gender equality. We are demanding for full participation and representation of women in the party structure and all elective seats in our dear country Nigeria.
“Gender equality; that is what the world is advocating for and we came at the right time. This is the month of women all over the world. The UN has declared not only the 8th March, but the whole month of March, to address issues affecting women and children”, she stated. She further said, “We are saying that delegates’ election is not democratic; we are demanding for open elections: Option A-4; direct primaries. That is more democratic. That is how you will know the true representative of the people. We want a level-playing ground”.
“Until we allow the will of the people, it is a democratic system and it calls for direct primaries. If you don’t win the primaries you cannot contest. And it is not that women are not accepted. We are loved. Women identify with their people at the grassroots but their hands are tied. It is just three people that represent thousands at the delegate election. We say no to it. We are asking for direct primaries at all levels”, the minister affirmed.