Communiqué Issued at the End of the 5-day Capacity Building Workshop for Women Politicians from Ekiti and Osun States
A 5-day Capacity Building Workshop was organised for 62 Women Political Leaders and 4 women journalists from Ekiti and Osun States, from Monday February 10 to Friday, February 14, 2014, at the Pope John Paul II Pastoral Centre, Ikere Road, Ekiti. The workshop was organised by Community Life Project (CLP).
The participants comprised women political leaders from both APC and PDP, who have mostly been in politics for between 15 and 39 years, including women who have contested elections for various positions both at the State and Local government levels. Among the participants were the State Women Leaders of APC and PDP from both states.
The women’s capacity was built in the area of campaign fundraising, how to campaign effectively with limited resources, negotiation and lobbying skills, among others. The women also brainstormed and shared experiences with one another on the challenges faced in previous elections they contested and how to overcome such challenges in the 2015 elections.
At the end of the training, the participants made the following observations:
- It is important for women political leaders to unite and work across party lines to enhance women’s political participation and increase the number of women in political offices and in party structures.
- Women have to take the lead in introducing international best practices into the Nigerian electoral culture.
- Though funding is a major barrier to women’s participation in politics, reliance on godfatherism and diversion of public funds are not viable options for women whose intention for going into politics is to make a difference in the lives of people at the grassroots who are socio-economically disadvantaged, such as women, children, the elderly and Persons with disability.
- There is dire need to redress the imbalances in the representation of women and men within political party structures in the country.
The women Political leaders, made the following recommendations:
- Party Leaders should take urgent steps to ensure the increase in the number of women in top decision-making positions within party organs such as the positions of Party Chairpersons, Secretaries, PROs, Treasurers, and Chairpersons of Boards of Trustees.
- Certain top leadership positions within political party structures should be reserved exclusively for women, to be contested by only female candidates.
- The major political parties should make concerted efforts to ensure that a minimum of 35% of candidates fielded in the 2015 elections are women.
- INEC and the top leadership of major political parties should do more to work together to ensure that the 2015 elections are fair, inclusive and free of violence and intimidation in order to mitigate the barriers to women’s effective participation.