2019 ELECTIONS: “Women Must Be At The Center Point Of Discourse For Any Successive Government To Make Any Meaningful Impact”- Beulah Marshall.

Mrs. Beulah Marshall.
Convener, Women Political Pathfinder.

The President and Convener of the “Women Political Pathfinder” (WPP) a non-governmental sociopolitical organization, NGO which seeks to empower women towards being vital parts of politics, especially ahead of the 2019 general elections, Mrs. Beulah Marshall has said that politicians who fail to give adequate consideration and provision for women empowerment/youth employment in their political agenda are already doomed to fail even before the slated date of the elections.

This she asserted whiles addressing a cross section of journalists after rising from a meeting convened by its members comprising coordinators from various parts of the country who converged in Lagos, emphasizing that it is high time women rose to the occasion of taking their rightful places in the affairs of governance by demanding for atleast, 50% inclusion in the scheme of things.

The veteran broadcaster and school proprietor opined that women haven been relegated for too long and demeaned as second fiddles to the extent of being publicly told that Their place is in the ‘other room’, should now stand up, make demands of politicians, participate in the process and get exactly what is deserving of them.

She further stressed that, “research has shown that In 2015, male to female ratio for Nigeria was 102.64 males per 100 females. Male to female ratio of Nigeria increased from 100.02 males per 100 females in 1970 to 102.64 males per 100 females in 2015 growing at an average annual rate of 0.29 %. with this in mind”, she says, “it would be the height of ignorance for any substantive government to think that women have no place in decision making, in tuning the affairs of government, and in consideration for Empowerment at various levels”.

She went further to say, “Are we only going to be good for campaign rallies and voting to be told that our place is not in governance?” gone are the days when politicians would come into markets places and distribute N5, 000 to market women in exchange for their votes. “Or where politicians would come and make empty promises, hand out T’shirts, plastic souvenirs and ask us to vote for them. If that is the plan of any politician today, then, they have failed even before the electorates go to the polls.

Women should say no to mortgaging their futures and that of their children for plastic souvenirs and peanuts and make demands of any politician seeking their support that there must be an enthronement and empowerment of the women in the public and private space.”

On the electoral value of her organisation, “Women Political Pathfinder” (WPP), Mrs. Marshall said that the NGO has a membership of over twenty thousand (20,000) women from across the nation who are from various socio-cultural and professional organisations that have come together to support political candidates that would meet the yearnings and demands of women in the Nigerian political space, adding that their membership strength has continued to grow by the day, listing other smaller groups and organisations under her NGO to include The Pearl Network, Purple Diary, Pink Network, Center for Youth and Women Empowerment (C.Y.W.E), International Organisation for the Empowerment of Women, State chapters of Catholic Women Organisation, Coalition of artisan associations among other professional bodies, socio cultural groups, Alumni groups and non-governmental organisations.

Answering questions on her organisation’s role in supporting female aspirants and candidates contesting for various positions, especially that of former Vice President of the World Bank and Presidential Candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili she says, we respect her courage to vie for the highest office in the land. She is one of a few ladies that have taken the courage to do what is commonly seen as the birthright of the men in our climes, and that is what we want more women to do. But as to whether or not we would mobilize to support an Oby Ezekwesili presidency is what remains to be seen. This will be determined by whether her political agenda meets the yearnings of the generality of the women folks. This is what would inform the decision to support any candidate be it at the federal executive, legislative or at state levels.

I can also tell you that in supporting any candidate, we might not be adopting a national spread party formula whereby the party we support at the state level will have to inform a decision to support as to which party we support at the national level. Our support might cut across political party lines, ethnic, religious and socio cultural lines. We will support the candidates that we see have the best agenda of the women at heart. This is our guiding principle and it is our strong resolve.”