The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, were absent at the Voice of Women (VOW) 2022 Conference and Awards in Abuja on Tuesday.
The event was an opportunity for presidential candidates or their running mates to explain their plans and commitments to Nigerian women.
The VOW 2022 is an initiative of Women Radio 91.7fm and Voice of Women Empowerment Foundation supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
Though the presidential standard bearer of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was absent, his running mate, Kashim Shettima, who represented him, assured Nigerian women that the Asiwaju administration will be friendly to them, if voted into power in 2023.
The Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, promised to support the making of a new law to guarantee the reservation of a specific percentage of all elective and appointive positions for women and youths.
APC promises women-friendly leadership
Speaking, Shettima said the APC would make equity and fairness to women a top priority of the Asiwaju Tinubu administration.
According to him, “The Asiwaju administration will be a government that will be friendly to women. They are the backbone of our society because they constitute over 50% of our total population.
“If Nigeria will reach its full fullest potential, we must give every person and segment of the population a fair chance to make their best contribution to the well-being and betterment of our nation.
“The growth of our economy and achievement of our nation and destiny rests on equity and the safeguarding of the fundamental rights and decency in our society. This means ending all forms of divisive biases, including gender discrimination,” Shettima said.
Obi, on his part, stated that the country is collapsing, but women can contribute laudably to saving it.
He recalled the contributions made by the women in his cabinet towards his success as Anambra governor, saying they were more productive than the men.
He said, “You mothers are the ones that will suffer more if things go wrong. Me, I believe in women and I believe they can save the country.
“As Anambra governor, I had a female deputy. My chief of staff was a woman. My commissioners for planning, local government affairs, education, and finance were women, including the State Accountant-General in my tenure was also a woman.
“Women were far more productive than the men. Today, I will attribute my success as a governor to those women in my cabinet. They were brave enough to say to me on many occasions ‘No, you can’t do this because children are involved.’
“For me, women are critical in the efforts to move the country forward. If we want to make progress, we have to surround ourselves with the 50 per cent of our population that we are neglecting, but I am going to invest in women.
“What we are going through today is the cumulative effects of leadership failure. We are now about to pick a new leadership.
“We must go beyond all the considerations of yesterday, and think about the future of this country. We can’t do it without women in the driving seat.
“We need to make a law giving women and youths a certain percentage of all elective and appointive positions like in Bangladesh.”