2023: IPC Harps On Affirmative Actions In Favour Of Female Candidates, Disadvantaged Groups
By Charity Uwakwe
Worried about the recurrent subjugation and oppression of women in the society, during electoral processes, the Executive Director of IPC, Lagos-Nigeria, Mr. Lanre Arogundade has insisted that the leadership of various political parties ought to, as a matter of necessity, consider affirmative actions in favour of female candidates.
This is even as parties across the nation are bustle around in strict preparation for the general election slated to take place in a couple of months.
Mr. Arogundade made this passionate appeal in an exclusive interview with famousreporters.com shortly after a two day Capacity Building Programme, organised by IPC, the lead partner of component 4 (Support to Media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria-Phase II (EUSDGN II) project, held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State’s capital.
The IPC boss who admitted that the political environment is basically dominated by the male folk, described the women folk as being economically disadvantaged.
He, therefore, urged political parties to promote affirmative actions in some ways, such like “waving nomination forms for female candidates or reducing the amount they have to pay”.
Asked whether women are seen seen as weaklings, Arogundade said:
“Well it’s not about being weak, it’s about facing the reality of their situation in terms of being economically disadvantaged when it comes to elections. The political environment is male dominated, so you’re likely to have contributions for male candidates and you saw it in the presidential race where candidates were asked to pay some amount of money and there male colleagues offered to pay on their behalf, we rarely see that happen to female politicians so we are dealing with a reality, and that is why we are saying that the political parties must promote affirmative actions in different ways by waving nomination forms for female candidates or reducing the amount they pay, it’s a form of affirmative action, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, it’s just to ensure that we are able to bridge the current gap,maybe by the time we get there that may not be necessary
Speaking further, he added that, “what we want is a situation where the participants help to contribute to the dissemination of credible information in the electoral processes, so the training is not an end in itself, it’s a means to an end and the means that we are looking at is that those issues of concern that bothers groups that are often suppressed during the electoral processes.
“We want to communicate those issues, we want to see more women participating, we want to see more women
voting; those issues,we want to see positive changes, we want to see more women being elected when 2023 comes, then we want to see that groups like people living with disabilities, young people have their voices projected so that their issues can be reckoned with by the politicians who are asking for their votes.
On the safety of female journalists during the electoral process amidst of insecurity, urged them not to be deterred by the fear of the unknown, while also he reminding the folk of the impending hazards.
He advised female journalists to endeavour to take “necessary precautions, abreast themselves with various tips and guidelines on how to ensure personal safety, but they should be aware that insecurity could be a threat to their work and to that extent they should take necessary precautions, abreast themselves with various tips and guidelines on how to ensure personal safety even when you’re going about your professional duties.
Continuing, the Media professional said: “But I want to assure the female journalists that if they persevere, they make use of Knowledge gained from programs like this, the sky could actually be the limit for them because the journalism of today offers greater opportunities for every serious journalists than it used to be in the past. So, the goal line there is, have the appropriate consciousness but know that if you are willing you can actually get to the top ladder of the profession of journalism.
Meanwhile, he expressed utter optimism in the participants, noting that they would be able to impact positively on the society through their reportage, especially ensuring a peaceful turn out of the exercise.
Hear him: “My expectations is that the participants will be able to use their reporting to bring some positive changes in the electoral process. It could be by way if ensuring that more women are voted to office,it could be by way of ensuring that people living with disabilities are voted for office,it could also be by way of contributing to peaceful elections so that when we notice that there are developments that can prevent people from participating and may lead to violence, we can address them. In the course of this workshop people have spoken about different challenges that people are facing, people displaced by flood, people who are having problem with sea pirates,so we expect all this to be embedded to the reporting of politics by the trained journalists so that the process can be better and peaceful.
“Then most important, our expectation too is that the Journalists will use the knowledge to ensure that fake news does not take the political space by making use of fact checking tools and fact checking claims by politicians. Ultimately, all these things will enhance the credibility of the electoral process.”
Meanwhile, he used the medium to laud the National President of NIGERIA Association of Women Journalists, Lady Ladi Bala for bringing female journalists from across the South-East and South-South regions of the country, to benefit from the training.
“She should be encouraged to do more, because the little we’ve done we’ve seen that it’s highly appreciated by the members of the organisation and because its an umbrella organisation, we must continue to push different frontiers to ensure that there are more opportunities for female journalists.
Moreso, he commended the participants, saying, “in fact these are one of the best group of journalists we have ever work with, paying attention, participating, shunning any form of distraction. I think its a major plus for this particular group, and we are not taking it for granted”.