The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has called for the support of prominent Nigerians to encourage womenfolk in political participation in the country.
Talllen made the call on Monday in Abuja during an interactive session, between the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Executive Director, Ms Winnie Byanyima and women leaders in Nigeria.
She said that women would continue to fight for their rights until things changed for better through their political and elective offices.
“I am encouraging the young ones, we must do something deliberate to change the status quo, we must put aside personal interests and follow the objective.
“I salute all the women leaders present here for their doggedness and resilience, we will not rest on our oars, we will continue to fight for our right till we achieve our desires.
” she stressed. Similarly, the former Minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, who decried the low rate of women participation in politics, also urged the women to rise to the challenge.
She said the key thing that would help to increase women participation in politics was for them to continue seeking knowledge, urging them to go for knowledge to increase their chances.
“There is need to change the narrative completely, women must increase their political influence, many of our women think leadership only belongs to the men folks, this is wrong.
“It is about time we wake up from our slumber and get fully involved,” Ezekwesili stressed. Speaking also, the wife of Ekiti State Governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, stated that Ekiti had done a lot to promote the right of women amongst which was the sponsor of four bills that centred on the right of women.
She said the country’s institutions must be strengthened to ensure that voices of the women are heard in terms of seeking their rights. According to Fayemi, women must continue to engage in main stream politics if they must make their voices heard .
On her part, the UNAIDS executive director urged women to constantly look after their health, noting that was the only way to guarantee their active participation in politics. According to her, women are so precious to the extent that they play some major roles in the home front and the society at large.
She said the survival of the family rests on the women, saying that they must fight for the autonomy of power and be represented in politics.
“Women are called upon to cater for the family, to put the family together, to keep the family going, we can also help to keep the society together and keep it going, we need women like men in the political structure,” she said.