From Obinna Odogwu, Awka

A group, Hope Givers Initiative, has urged women in Anambra State to start playing more active roles in the politics and governance of the state.

It said that so doing was the only way they could be part of the decision-making processes, especially on issues that also affect them and their children.

The group made the push during its town hall meeting on voter/civic education held in Awka, the state capital, with support from Christian Aid Nigeria.

Executive Director of the group Mrs Onyeka Udegbunam said that the town hall was part of their voter education campaigns targeted at getting the people to participate in their country’s politics.

“It is part of our voter education. You know the elections are by the corner and so we want to sensitise the people. We have been going around with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Anambra and INEC in Enugu.

“We have a series of radio programmes educating our people. From the records, Anambra is one of the states that have a very low voter turnout each time there’s an election.

“And so, we want to change the story this time. We have been going around doing voter education; mobilising people; doing town hall meetings. This is one of the town hall meetings.

“And the whole essence is for our people to come out and vote so that we don’t make the mistakes of the past”, she said.

Udegbunam, however, said that this particular town hall was aimed at encouraging women to participate in politics so that they could be part of the decision-making processes in their state and country at large.

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“Now, this particular one is one of the problems we have noticed in Nigeria which is that there’s no participation of women in politics.

“It is just as if women are just there to observe. And we say no. The time is ripe. We have begged enough and we have discovered that the men are not willing to listen. You can see it from the votes in the National Assembly.

“And so, we are mobilising women to take our rightful place in this country; to take our rightful place in politics; to take our rightful place in participating in governance from the community level up to the federal level.

“An so, we have come here to talk to ourselves; to look inward as women because when you go to most places they vote, you find out that women troupe out in their numbers.

“The question is, why is it then that the men keep winning? And we have come to look inward, to talk to ourselves as women and for us to understand that the stereotype that is being forced down our throats that women don’t like themselves is not true.

“We just have to take our future in our hands because bad governance affects us the most. Our children and husbands are suffering. No good healthcare, no school, nothing.

“You can imagine what is happening now. You don’t have N1 to buy something and feed your family. Fuel is N450 and N500 per litre. Where are we headed to?

“Cashless policy, yes; but you don’t do it this way. A petty trader that starts a business with N10,000, what cashless, where will she get the money to begin to say that I am going to put the money in the bank,” she queried.

Senatorial candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) for Anambra Central in the forthcoming polls, Helen Mbakwe, who attended the meeting, appealed to the women to vote for her.

Mbakwe said that she would pursue good legislation that would benefit Nigerians, especially women if elected into office in this month’s elections.