#WomenYouCanRun 1: What You Must Know If You Want to Join Politics

This morning listening to Oluwaseun Omoakinola, a dear colleague, and brother on his program, “The Conversation”, on Splash FM 105.5 I was richly informed about practical things women who intend to join politics must know. I will be sharing a few interesting down to earth points from one of the guests he featured on the program. It has inspired a title for a series I have been working on and hope to begin to share here. My own small contribution to encouraging more women to be bold in taking up leadership and political positions once they have what it takes.

There is all lot of discussions about women’s participation in leadership and particularly on increasing involvement in politics. And so I hope to be sharing practical points of view of notable women and men leaders and also profile women we can all be inspired by their success in leadership positions and in the political arena. And so welcome to the first post in the series of #WomenYouCanRun 1.

Hon. Nnena Ukeje Elendu on the floor of the House of Representatives. Credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq7gqj6ypsA

Honorable Nnena Ukeje Elendu has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2007. She is a third term member representing Bende Federal constituency in Abia State under the People’s Democratic party.

Her Political Aim: To leave a much better country than I met it.

Honorable Nnena’s Lecture at an event organized by Women in Business and Public Service(WIMBIZ) an NGO for women on 22 March at Eko Hotel and Suites. It is in commemoration of the 2018 International Women’s Day.
Theme: Women, Politics and Nation Building (Press4Progress)

If you are running for office as a woman you must answer these questions:

1) Self- Evaluation: Why do I want to run? Find an answer to that question because people will ask. Men are not psychoanalyzed when running for elected office. They believe that every woman who wants to run has a blind ambition to control everyone. Determine also what office you want to run for. Is it a senatorial position, Governor, House of Representatives etc.
2) Are you Prepared? What are you bringing from your present life into office? I was in the hospitality business and found out that my strength was in hold anyone spellbound in a five minutes conversation. And so I was able to convince people easily, this I brought into office when I was elected.
3) Emotionally are you prepared? You are not allowed to have an emotional meltdown; you are not allowed to cry in public. In politics Might is right. You need to be strong.
4) Physically are you prepared? Campaigns are tough. You are up from 5am – 6pm. You must be physically strong and ready to give it the time it takes.
5) What is your cultural view about women in leadership? Family questions must be answered. What is your family’s take on a strong woman? Break the idea that you are either married or be in politics. A woman who can run both the home and be a good politician.

Having answered these questions you are ready to move on to the next level.

A few more points to note:

  • You must understand that competence, CV doesn’t win elections; emotions win elections. The aim of your opponent is fake news, emotional scam and alternative fact.
  • The most important persons in your party is the chairman, the National Organizing chairman, and the secretary, make friends with them. They are the ones in charge of sending your name to INEC.
  • Develop very thick skin…keep your children and family out of social media. You can read stuff about you that you will never believe in the media. Prepare your family for this.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Project Director Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral change Radio Drama. Communication4Development
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Arguments For & Against Reserving 35% Affirmative Seat in Governance For Women #Nigeria

Participants at Beehyve & Onelife Initiatives media training.

An argument broke out from a demand women are making about their role and participation in governance especially with the 2019 general elections just around the corner in Nigeria. So here is a discussion that ensued on our media for development partners page oooo…interesting discuss that I am giggling and musing over:

TK (Male) – Well…I don’t believe in 35% affirmative action… How can u reserve 35% of seats for women even if they are incompetent? I believe we should allow women an equal chance but only based on competence… So I disagree with the affirmative action.

SN (male) – In principle, affirmative action was not conceived to jettison merit. It was not designed to give away leadership positions for women without merit. It was to open up space for equal participation. Merit cannot be assumed to have been sacrificed in this matter. Albeit, we have many incompetent men in leadership positions too.

TW (female) – You have just spoken my mind.

Nn (female)  – Are you saying we don’t have incompetent men in leadership positions?

AU (Male) –We’ve had highly competent women in positions of authority before & they’ve delivered even in contemporary Nigeria, so women can also take charge.

TK (Male) I have voted for women and respect many…but within an organization or society where we may not have enough competent women standing up in politics..then to reserve 35% for them is absurd! But, seeding 50% for women who are competent and emerge on merit isn’t a problem for me, I support it. 35% AA is opening more door to mediocrity.

SN (Male) – That is not an absolute. Your statement here presupposes that mediocrity is synonymous with women. It also reeks of an assumption that we don’t have enough competent and qualified women to handle the leadership responsibilities. I am sure you know the two assumptions are not valid. We have them in abundance. You may need to read up why the system is skewed against the women in terms of seeking the elective positions, particularly in Africa.

And on went the discussion... What is interesting to me is that men are engaging each other in discussions about increasing women’s participation in governance. Is this a good sign?

In the past week, there has been heated arguments amongst male and female colleagues about whether women should even seek to go into politics. What I sense is a lot of fear about a woman becoming corrupt and neglecting her duties in the home. Hehehe…give women a chance to become all they can now 🙂

What is your Take – Do you think that giving Nigerian women 35% affirmative seat in leadership positions is fair /unfair? Why?

Adebisi Adetunji (C)