PDP Convention: Ignore 35% gender representation at your peril, Ciroma tells party

•Says matter is constitutional and must be implemented

Former Minister of Women Affairs and chieftain of the People Democratic Party (PDP), Inna Maryam Ciroma, has said the main opposition party, can not afford to ignore constitutional provision, for gender mainstreaming in choosing her next set of National Executives.

She spoke exclusively with the Tribune Online in Abuja, where she said the party leaders, prevailed on her and the other women who were schemed out through the obnoxious ‘unity list’ at the 2017 elective convention that brought up Uche Secondus and the other EXCOs of the party.

She said but for the virtue of patience, women are gifted with, herself and the other women would have caused legal issues for the opposition party because it jettisoned the constitutional demand for 35 per cent gender mainstreaming.

Ciroma said while she was encouraged by some members of the Board of Trustees to run for the deputy national chairman because it was zoned to her area, the process was changed to eliminate her and other women, in the guise of a ‘unity list’ that emerged at the last minute at the convention.

“And since they have zoned it to the Northeast, they said Hajiya why don’t you go in and contest. I said okay if I will get the support why not. I joined the contest, I campaigned.

“It was stated that one of the positions would be zoned to the woman as there are two deputies. Do you know that was changed at the convention ground?

“At the convention ground, they changed it, that a man can contest for that position. They now manipulated it and came up with the unity list. All the women that contested, were thrown out, only the national women leader was retained, which is statutory.

“After the election, some people advised us to go to court because the 35 per cent gender representation is there in our constitution, since we did not achieve it, we could have destroyed the party.

“We could have stalled the party, a lot of elders came and pleaded, please do not do that. We said okay, the party is number one, we agree.

“That is the thing about woman and development, she gives in. If we had stood our ground we would have taught the party a lesson. They will not repeat it again,” she told the Tribune Online.

Ciroma who said 35per cent of gender representation in all appointive offices would improve health and education nationwide said the passion of a woman for a better society would bring about quality change and improve national service delivery.

Tribune checks revealed that, in chapter eight of the constitution of the PDP, in Section 50(3) it holds that “Congress for the election of Ward Officers, Councillorship candidates and the 3 delegates to Local Government Congress and State Congress, out of which at least one (1) shall be a woman..,”

She said the political party remained the best point to start from, which is why she has decided to call her party to respect the provision of its own constitution going forward.

She told Tribune Online that she has started the discussion with the various structures of the party, for gender mainstreaming in the forthcoming convention.

“In fact, we have formed a small group in the party, we call it the PDP women elders caucus and we have been meeting.

“We have been meeting the various party structures, the BOT the minister’s forum, the governors’ Forum, we have been meeting them.

“Can we implement the thirty-five per cent gender mainstreaming? We must have thirty-five per cent of offices zoned to the women. So even in the zoning, when they zone the positions we will know go to our different zones and say okay this position should be zone to women.

“If it is zoned to a particular area in the zone, we will say bring a quality woman for us,” she told the Tribune Online.

According to Ciroma, the benefit of having a woman in a decision-making position are large because she will not rock the boat because her interests are not met.

Her words: “A woman generally does not like crises and she can say no, she can always drawback and ensure that the party comes first. That is what a woman can do. She will not say that because I could not get it, let it all crash.”

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PDP Convention: Ignore 35% gender representation at your peril, Ciroma tells party

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