The wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, on Monday in Abuja pleaded with Nigerian women to vote for her husband, President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 Presidential election.
According to her, only Jonathan can protect and defend their rights among all the aspirants for the seat.
She also asked women to actively participate in the on-going electoral processes in the country, saying it was time for them to compete favourably with their male counterparts for elective positions.
Patience, represented by the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, made the remarks while declaring open a two-day National Conference on Women and Elections, with the theme, “Enhancing Opportunities for Women Candidates,” organised by the United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with the Federal Ministry for Women Affairs.
She asked the electorate not to yield to the advances of other aspirants, saying they could not guarantee their freedom.
“I want to once again, urge you to continue to give support to our dear President, who has shown that he is not only gender sensitive but believes in the power and capacity of women to bring about change in society. He has been doing his best to promote the interest of women in Nigeria. It is now time for us to show him our appreciation for all he has been doing as he seeks re-election, “she said.
While applauding the roles women were playing to positively transform the society, she noted that more Nigerian families were investing in girls’ education, saying the development would make women to be politically and economically independent.
She said, “It is gratifying that more families are today investing in girls’ education and there are pointers to the fact that in the nearest future, more women will be politically and economically independent.
“However, there is the need to create the enabling environment to enhance women active participation in all areas of development. We must as women begin to aggressively unite, network and build alliances across gender divide in order to secure meaningful change.”
In her speech at the occasion, the Women Affairs Minister, Hajia Zainab Maina, regretted that women were not being taken along in decision and law making.
She said, “The number in terms of female representation in Nigeria reflects the almost exclusion of women. With less than seven per cent representation in elective positions, Nigerian women are among the less represented women in any sense when critical decisions, especially law making and distribution of the country’s resources that have unprecedented impacts on their lives are made.”