By Angela Atabo
Abuja – Mrs Elizabeth Ativie, former Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly on Friday advocated for a policy to deliberately merge male and female candidates on the same ticket during elections.
Ativie told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the pairing policy would not only enhance gender equality, it would also encourage, enable and empower women participation in politics.
“There are quality Nigerian women who can participate effectively and positively in politics, but the challenge is that these women cannot struggle the way the men do,” she said.
Ativie attributed this to “some genuine reasons’’ such as cultural factors and the inability of women to jettison family responsibilities.
“Until policymakers in Nigeria take it as a commitment to ensure that a male candidate must have a female running mate, women participation will continue to be low,” she said.
The ex-deputy speaker said that the issue of creating more space for women should be deliberately and consciously attended to with enough commitment to see it through.
“Unlike the men that can go out all day, the women cannot abandon the home all day in the name of politics.
“That is why men who are the major players and decision makers, must have a commitment to create space for the women.
“Other countries have imbibed it; even in Ghana when you have one male candidate, you must have a woman as your running mate.
“If you say because all animals are equal and so men and the women should struggle alike, you and I know that the way God created women, their other responsibilities will not allow them to go all out to struggle for electoral positions as the men,” she said.
The former deputy speaker noted that the pairing system would further strengthen democratic consolidation as an embodiment of longevity of a civilian regime.
She also appealed for respect for democratic institutions, credible elections and the existence of equity in support of disadvantaged members.