Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) National Women Leader, Prof. Stella Effah-Attoe, said on Monday in Abuja that 250 female aspirants had bought the party’s Expression of Interest forms for the 2023 general elections.
Effah-Attoe said this at a meeting she held with some of the aspirants at the party’s Wadata Plaza national headquarters.
She urged the women to aim at winning elections and not stop at merely participating in the exercise.
She added that her office was already working with party leaders and stakeholders to ensure that a good number of female aspirants emerged as the party’s candidates.
Effah-Attoe advised the aspirants to be well-prepared to face the primary elections so as not to heap blame on the party later.
“Some of us don’t even relate with our wards, not to talk about our local government chapters. And when the bell rings to buy the forms we just run and pick the forms.
“Politics is practised that way; you have to prepare yourself, especially for the primary,” Effah-Attoe said.
The national women leader said the meeting was to strategise on how more women would merge as candidates at the primary elections.
“I desire to leave no stone unturned to ensure that our women participate meaningfully and win elections.
“We have always thought about women coming out to participate.
“We have been doing that over the years we have been participating but the issue now is coming out to win elections. This kind of meeting is unprecedented,’’ she said.
Effah-Attoe said the meeting was also designed to enhance female aspirants’ approaches and methodologies as they go to the field.
“You must understand the pros and cons inherent in our political pursuits with a view to proffering solutions to them and you must monitor the achievements of female aspirants and plan for the future,’’ she stressed.
In her remarks, former National Women Leader of the party and also former Minister of Women Affairs, Josephine Anenih, advised the aspirants to do soul-searching on whether they wanted to contest to win or to just participate.
She noted that sometimes because the form is almost free, women just obtained it to bargain for something or earn the title of the aspirant, and not for the purpose of winning elections.
She advised the aspirants to work to win, saying: “do not just rely on 35 per cent affirmative action for elective positions.’’
Anenih also charged the aspirants to respect party structures and leaders, including zoning, and to connect with people at the grassroots
“If you are not qualified and nobody knows you in your place, you won’t get the seat you are looking for.
“If we ask some of us now when last they attended ward, local government or state meetings, they’d draw blank and they now want to be House of Representatives members or governors or senators. It’s a tall order.
“This is not to discourage anybody, but to let you know that there is no point wasting your time or that of party leaders.
“The 35 per cent affirmative action we are clamouring for is not magic.
“We must work hard for it. Don’t give PDP a bad name by saying women are marginalised. If you are qualified you will be given a chance,’’ Anenih said.
She also advised the female contestants not to underestimate the influence of party leaders, that of governors and the media.
She advised them to get campaign sponsors and put other factors that could assist them in place.
Also addressing the meeting, another former PDP National Women Leader, Inna Ciroma, advised the women to prove that they could do it.
Ciroma, who said that her husband never influenced her participation in the election, advised them to be united and dogged to get the party’s tickets.