2023: APC women demand 108 slots in Reps

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Ahead of the 2023 general elections, women in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have demanded for the election of no fewer than 108 female members into the House of Representatives.

Stella Okotete, representative of APC women lobby group, made the demand at a meeting with the party’s Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) in Abuja on Thursday.

While the 9th House comprises only 11 women out of the 360 members, Okotete said they were working hard to produce at least three women in the green chamber from each state in 2023.

This is coming barely 24 hours after APC women demanded gender parity in party administration and control as well as the adoption of Option A4 in picking flag bearers of the party in various elections to ensure gender mainstreaming in Nigeria’s political space.

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Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs, who had made the demand shortly after presenting their position to the Tahir Mamman’s Constitution Review Committee of the party, also demanded a 50 percent representation for women across all elective positions in the party.

Reiterating the position, Okotete said in some countries, a certain percentage of the capital budget is allocated to women-owned enterprises, women-owned business promoters.

“If this is adopted as the ruling party in government, I can assure you that what we are planning for 2023, the 108 positions minimum in the House of Representatives will be achieved,” she said.

Okotete said they were hopeful the party would go beyond the women leader position to other National Working Committee and State Working Committee positions.

“That will create traction and visibility. I am sure if we have 35 percent in the NWC and SWC, nothing will stop our women from being on the ballot for our party. By the grace of God, we have more than one rallying point. I love the men of the party, they are ever ready and willing to support us.

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“We are about to start our congresses that will lead to the National Convention. Gone are the days when we only support women for the women leader positions. It is our cry, it is our appeal to the men and I know the party men, a whole lot have met, they are ‘he for she’. They think about us but they just want us to speak with one voice. And I think this is what we are going to do here,” she said.

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Okotete stressed the need to do a lot of work as regards identifying strong women, electable women that can be elected under the APC platform.

“We have no reason, no excuse to sit back and allow the normal circumstances or issues derail us or stop us from achieving this. We can only achieve this if we come together, if we speak with one voice if we discontinue the ‘Pull Her Down syndrome (PHDs)’ that I found when I resumed here. We need to discontinue that.

“Can we compete with the men when it comes to funding elections? I can tell you that from this lobby group, we are not just going to lobby for more representation but we will lobby for financial independence of our women at the party level,” she said.

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