The leaders of the female youth wing of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have underscored the need for the disaggregation of party membership during the e-membership registration exercise to get accurate data of young women in the party.
The youths drawn from the 36 states of the federation and the FCT gave the recommendation when they paid a courtesy visit to the PDP National Working Committee at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
They also made other recommendations to address what they called marginalization and underrepresentation of young women in PDP, including that female youth structure comprising 1000 members should be created as a unit of mobilization at the state level; that the offices of the national woman and youth leaders should develop framework for providing mentorship and support for young females who are desirous of contesting for political positions and participating actively in politics.
They also demanded that the party’s constitution be reviewed to stipulate a minimum representation for young women specifically, including twinning for youth leadership positions; and that the leadership of the party should develop a mechanism to implement the 35 per cent affirmative action for the inclusion of women in the party leadership and committees.
Hosted by the PDP national woman leader, Hajiya Mariya Waziri, they noted that young females had continuously been excluded from the activities of the party despite their sustained support and involvement in party engagements.
Speaking on behalf of the youths, Jiritmwa Goyit from Plateau State, who presented the female youth agenda, enjoined PDP to take advantage of its pool of committed female youth population within the party, who are willing to serve as advocates of the PDP to other female youths across Nigeria.
In her remarks, PDP national woman leader said she had no doubt that the female youth of the PDP possessed the capacity and skill set to add value to the party and assured the delegation that the party was happy and willing to listen to their positions and experiences to better understand how to foster a sustainable and lasting partnership with female youths across the states, adding “we are most excited to hear from you as we are eager to get this partnership moving in the right direction.”
Some members of the National Working Committee who spoke at the meeting highlighted the need for young women to mobilize themselves to take advantage of initiatives to promote inclusion already implemented in the party. The party’s national publicity secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, encouraged young women to take advantage of the waiver of party nomination fees for all party and elective positions provided to improve the participation of youth and women in the party processes.
He added that young women must take bold steps towards aspiring to positions from the grassroots to the national levels, assuring them that the party had no barriers to young people’s political participation and aspirations.
For the PDP national secretary, Alhaji Ibrahim Tsauri, the older party members are looking up to the younger generation to take up leadership in the party. He emphasized that the party was committed to implementing he 35 per cent affirmative action for gender inclusion in the party congresses.
The national financial secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi Maibasara expressed gratitude to International Republican Institute (IRI) and the office of the national woman leader for supporting young women in their quest for proper integration into the party. He encouraged young men to take up the opportunity provided by the visit to enhance and deepen their political participation in the party.
The PDP National Youth Leader, Hon. S. K. E. Ude-Okoye, called on female youth to do away with the fear of political participation which adversely affect their advancement in the political space and encouraged them to make deliberate and concerted efforts to participate in party activities and contest for political offices just as their male counterparts.
The PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, commended the visit of the female youth to the party leadership and said the young females would be integrated into the on-going efforts to reposition the party. He stated that his administration was working to hand over party operations and leadership to young people who are conversant with the Information Communication Technology.
Promising the party will explore means of implementing the recommendations from the meeting, he also emphasized the need for the young female to mobilize themselves to participate in the forthcoming electronic membership registration exercise.
In his presentation on strengthening inclusive party politics, Mr. Sunday Alao of International Republican Institute (IRI) – Nigeria, suggested the adoption of ‘twinning principle’ for youth party position at all levels of the party and reserving the deputy woman leader position for young women at the ward and local government levels. This can be achieved by an amendment of the party constitution and guideline, he stated.
The one-day interactive session with the theme – ‘Bridging the gap of female youth inclusion in politics’ was hosted by the party and supported by the International Republican Institute (IRI) with the aim to discuss measures of addressing the exclusion of young women in party politics and explore opportunities for young women to participate in processes of the PDP.