By Bimbo Akindunbi
Women in Ondo have decried the lip service being paid by the political leadership of various parties to women and youth participation.
This came as a resolution of Ondo State Women for Women in a consultation with other women groups in the state.
The women advocacy group noted that most political parties claim to have agenda for women yet exclude them through processes of zoning, consensus and political godfatherism.
The high cost of forms and vote buying is also another way women are being systematically excluded in the political process.
Mrs Jumoke Ajasin-Anifowose, the group coordinator expressed the fear that Ondo Women will have a poor representation politically as an outcome of local government and general elections if nothing is done to ensure this population is not excluded.
The high cost of purchase of forms by some political parties has made it impossible for some women to obtain the nomination form and expression of interest.
The coordinator of Women Association for Humanities and Development, Mrs Folakemi Esan noted that the era of having just two women as representatives in state house of assembly is no more acceptable.
The political leadership in the state must be held accountable for their various political statements in support of women.
She quoted the promise of President Muhammadu Buhari to support women at a recent women event organized by National Council for Women Society in Abuja who promised to ensure women are able to rise politically yet went ahead to support the high cost of nomination form for All Progressives Congress.
Mrs Esan also quoted the various political statements by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu who promised to support women yet has made no move to ensure same.
She insisted that the political leadership in the state must ensure women who indicate interest in LGA elections as Councillors and Chairmen of Council are not sidetracked in the political negotiations.
Mrs Olamide Falana, the coordinator of Ondo Women Must Count noted that the local government is the closest to the people, yet women have been sidelined in the various political negotiations and arrangements on ground.
She decried the consensus arrangement through which women may not be allowed for elections as the state may end up with only men as LGA chairmen and very few women as councillors.
The consultative forum insisted on the demands which has been made by women in Ondo state that the state must produce at least one female senator, at least three female members of House of Representatives, at least ten women in state house of assembly and ten LGA chairmanship slots for women.
Barr Mrs Bolanle Olafunmiloye noted that women constitute the bulk of credible honest voters yet have highest population in the bottom of the economic pyramid due to gender blind policies and poor voice for women at the top.
The current political season is an opportunity to change this narrative hence all political parties must be awake to their manifestos while the Governor and leadership of the ruling party in Ondo must see political representation of women as a duty and a fulfilment of promises made.
One of the aspirants for Senate for Ondo South senatorial district, Hon. Engr Mrs. Janet Adeyemi, called on the wife of the Governor to stand in for women through advocacy.
She enthused that women seeking tickets for Senate, House of representatives such as Hon. Omowunmi Olatunji-Ohwovoriole , Mrs Komolafe, Hon Mrs Yinka Alabi-Oladapo, Mrs Adanri, and Hon Kemisola Adesanya as well as others for state house of Assembly such as Mrs Tomomewo Favour, Mrs Titi Oluyede, Deaconesses Funmilola Ademoyegun, Mrs Adebimpe Ajaguna Saidi among others are women who will do the state proud hence support of all and sundry is required to make their ambitions a reality.