A voter from North Darfur submitted her ballot on the first day of Sudan's national elections. Image credit: UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez on Flickr
The Economic Community of West African States Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA) launched the first edition of the Women and Girls Leadership Symposium under the theme “Unleashing the Potentials of Women and Girls in Politics and Entrepreneurship” last month at the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.
During the conference, women and girls were sensitised to nurturing and building a sustainable political career while leveraging digital skills.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Roukayatou Goury, representative of the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Her Excellency, Dr Mrs Aisha Buhari, noted that the event was a major milestone towards promoting women and girls’ participation in politics in West African region.
Earlier, Mrs Buhari had taken a step in motivating female political aspirants and encouraged Nigerian women to draw inspiration from their courage and support them to win their chosen positions.
Mrs Buhari stressed that the coming election provides a unique opportunity to assess women’s readiness to change the course of history in Nigeria’s Political terrain and therefore need to persevere and strive to approach the political ground with sincerity and decorum, and not allow themselves to be marginalised anymore.
She charged them to shun violence, jealousy and hatred for one another, believe in themselves, loves themselves, and commit to the party ideals. “I would like to draw our attention to the need to increase our participation in governance, especially at the state and local government levels. This is important in making ourselves relevant as partners in progress and development,” she added.
She further urged the ruling APC to consider and implement the 35% affirmative action in the party constitution by taking all necessary steps to ensure that women’s aspirations are fulfilled. While commending the party leadership for supporting women over the years, she charged them to believe in women and show them more solidarity.
She also expressed the belief that the summit will make a difference in the political landscape of the country and promised to support all women aspirants through the electoral process.
ECOFEPA aims to support and encourage ECOWAS community programs that promote gender-responsive social, economic and cultural development. Created in 2002, the Association comprises female parliamentarians of the ECOWAS Parliament. 21 of the 115 members of the Community Parliament are female, i.e. 18.26% of the total number.