By Peter Ibrahim
The Deputy Governor of Kaduna state, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe has advised women to support their fellow women who are contesting for elective positions, in order to encourage their participation in governance.
Dr. Balrabe, who stated this when a coalition of women groups under the umbrella of Jam’iyyar Matan Arewa paid her a visit, further said that women should enter political contests with the determination of winning and not wait to be given positions on a platter of gold.
The Deputy Governor advised that women should compete in elections on the basis of their competence and not to be voted solely on the basis of their gender.
“I want us to put our best forward. Let us not go there because we are women but because we have something very solid and concrete to offer. I know that most of the times we go to beg that they should give us, it is not the matter of giving, we are equal to the task and we can compete with anybody.
“If we believe that, then I think that will go a long way in helping us. But let us not always say we want it to be given, no we don’t want it to be given. If there are men and they can compete, we are women and can also compete,’’ she counselled.
According to Dr Balarabe, women constitute 50% of the voting population and they can actually vote in female contestants if they give block votes to the competent ones amongst them.
‘’Every time it is said that women constitute more than 50% of those who came out to vote. Who are they voting for? So, if we have women who came out to vote and we have women who are seeking elective positions, why don’t we vote for them, why do we turn our backs on our own women?’’, she queried.
The Deputy Governor further advised women to rethink how they have been participating in politics over the years by leveraging on their numbers and enthusiastic participation during elections.
‘’If we come out that many, and every time, we come out that early, line up, sit out there, cast our votes, wait for them to be counted, so where have we gone wrong?,’’ she posed a rhetorical question.
Dr Balarabe advised women to use the coming local government election as a litmus test by showcasing their strength and unity, by supporting women contestants.
Dr Balarabe noted that although men have dominated politics for a long time, especially in northern Nigeria, but women can change the status quo if they are united and support each other.
“We are strong, we are capable. We have the strength and we are equal to the task. So why should we just be given. So, let us go out there with that determination and that dedication and strong will that whatever it is that we can do, we will do and we will get there.”
According to her, Kaduna State Government promotes equal opportunity for all gender, adding that Governor Nasir El-Rufai does not only voices support for women but also puts his words to action.
“This is a government of equal opportunities and we will continue to champion that. His Excellency does not only says it but has always puts that to action. And we try as much as possible to put people first because we know that by doing that, we will make lives better for each and every one, ‘’ she added.