On February 13th, 2019, Women in Management Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) as part of its efforts to advocate for increased female participation in politics, held the WIMBIZ Women in Politics (WIMPol) Town Hall Meeting themed, Run, Vote, Get Involved!
The event which held at Harbour Point in Victoria Island, Lagos was an avenue for women from diverse backgrounds and with different ideologies, to interact with a cross section of women vying for political office. Over 200 women were in attendance.
Giving her welcome address during the event, Mrs. Olubunmi Aboderin-Talabi, the Chairperson of WIMBIZ Executive Council noted that WIMBIZ being a catalyst that elevates the status and influence of women and their contribution to nation building is focused on driving female involvement in politics and public service as a means of ensuring positive growth and national development. She also said, having identified the low representation of women in politics, the objective of the town hall meeting was to create awareness about politics and how women can get involved.
The Town Hall Meeting comprised of 5 panellists who are female political candidates in the forthcoming general elections and was moderated by Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, Enough is Enough Movement. Panelist who spoke at the event were, Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya – ANN, Vice presidential Candidate, Tolu Sadipe – APC House of Rep candidate, Lara Adesanya – PPC, Gubernatorial Candidate, Oluwayemisi Busari – PDP Deputy Governor Candidate, Arinola Oloko– SDP, Lagos House of Assembly Candidate.
Each panelist had an allocated time to speak about why she is running, where she finds gaps and what she would achieve if elected. Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya while speaking during the meeting stated that Nigeria was her biggest passion and that all she has been doing prior to getting the mandate to run has been to build and develop Nigeria. She further encouraged Nigerian women not to shy away from responsibility/duty quoting her thus: “As women, we have enormous capacity to serve so when called upon to do so, we should take it.”
Mrs. Lara Adesanya began her speech with these motivating calls to action “Don’t sit down and complain, get involved!” She shared her journey so far while highlighting areas she would focus on when elected into office. She termed these areas her five (5) cardinal points. They Include: Health care, Education(quality), Security, The Rule of Law and Transportation. She ended her speech with these striking words “I am here to see that Lagos state gets what they deserve.”
Mrs. Oluwayemisi Busari in her speech reiterated what the first speaker Khadijah said concerning women taking up assignments when it comes their way. She stated that women should hold themselves up to a high-level standard of delivery. Quoting her, “As women, we have the moral justification to encourage ourselves. However, we must always be on top of our game in order to call up that moral justification.” She intends to impact Lagos state when elected by focusing on liveability, the economy and the future. When elaborating on these focus areas of her manifesto, she stated that 2019 Women in Politics Town Hall Meeting Post-Press Release past governments have been celebrated for doing the normal. However, her government will not come to do the normal, rather they would do the unexpected.
Mrs. Arinola Oloko in her speech stated thus “changing mindsets is where we need to start in this race.” After sharing her journey and manifesto she ended with this quote by Margaret Thatcher “If you want something said ask a man, if you want something done ask a woman.”
Mrs. Sadipes’ drive to run was borne out of anger over the deplorable state of things in the country and her state Oyo state. Tired of venting her anger on social media, she decided to run for office. Quoting her on the need for women to take responsibility and run for office she said thus “I tell members of my political party that I am the 33.3%, if we (women) don’t become the 33.3% we are going to let people who don’t deserve it take the country.” At the end of the program, attendees left inspired to not only RUN and VOTE but GET INVOLVED.