The Edo chapter, National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS), on Tuesday threatened to boycott the 2019 general elections, citing alleged marginalisation.
Mrs Omoluru Aigbokhae-Eniye, the state President of the association, who led other women in a protest march through major streets of Benin, accused the men of making the elective positions their birthright.
“We have been cheated for a long time and we do not want it to happen again. “We can call their bluff and ask women not to go and vote and let us see how they will win. “We are taking a stand either to boycott the election because we have the numbers.” She said that a situation where women always played second fiddle in the nation’s politics would no longer be tolerated. Women, she said, should be given the chance to seek elective positions and be voted for accordingly.
She decried the appointment of women only into political offices, saying that it was a ploy to hire and fire them at will. “We have come to tell the world that the women of Edo have been marginalised.” “They want to give us appointive positions so that they can keep the women aside. “They want to give us appointive positions so that when we say something that government is not too comfortable with, they fire us.”
Aigbokhae-Eniye recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his speech to the UN General Assembly, had drummed support for the inclusion of women in politics in Nigeria. However, she expressed disappointment that women were being relegated to the background.
According to her, for 12 years, the Edo State House of Assembly has only had one woman as a member of the assembly, adding that the development negates the 35 per cent affirmative action. “If at the House of Assembly here, we have 24 members, we ought to have eight women; but we are not asking for eight. “We are asking that we should be represented across the state. “From the north, south and central, we are asking for just two so that when decisions that concern women and children are being taken, women will be there to partake,” Aigbokhae-Eniye said. “You can imagine for 12 years in Edo, only one woman has been in the House and when they want to take critical decisions, what has she to say? “At times, she is even schemed out as they take the decision because they are in the majority; it becomes binding on everybody,” she said.