Some of the women who contested for various political offices as candidates during the 2019 general elections in Bauchi State have narrated how they were verbally abused and even labeled ‘prostitutes’ for daring to contest for a political position.
Some of the women who spoke at a Women Candidates Dialogue Forum, organized by the Young Leaders Network (YLN) held in Bauchi lamented that the situation was discouraging to women who suffered a lot from engaging in party politics.
Speaking during the interactions, the Green Party of Nigeria (GPN) candidate for Bogoro State Constituency in the last election, Mantuda Adamu, said that the major challenge she faced was financing, and lamented that she was labelled a ‘prostitute’ because of her doggedness in the contest.
“As a woman, if you come out boldly to contest in Bauchi State, they will say you are a prostitute. If they call you for a meeting at about 10 pm or 11 pm, people will say you want to go for business (prostitution) and not for politics.”
Mantuda Adamu recounted that when she approached the major political parties to contest under their platforms, she realised that it was capital intensive because “most of the delegates asked me what I have to offer them. Some of them asked for motorcycles, some for N100, 000 and some N50, 000. As a woman, if you are not in the position to offer them these, they won’t vote for you.”
Another candidate, Balkisu Ayuba, who contested the Dass State Constituency under the Social Democratic Party (SDP), said that some of the executives of the party said she would not be allowed to contest in the party because she was not yet married.
She stated that her life was also threatened on the day she flagged off her campaign.
“I had an accident the day I went to buy my nomination form and I also had another accident the day I flagged off my campaign, I got an anonymous call from a woman who said to me, “step aside and don’t contest again or I swear to God, you will die if you refuse.
“I told her I won’t but at a point, I felt like quitting, it was my mentor that stopped me from doing that,” she added.
Balkisu Ayuba who said that she was the only woman contestant among nine men lamented that her opponents kept campaigning against her saying, “if I go to a particular village to campaign and I leave, my opponents will go for the campaign of calumny against me. These factors discourage women from going for electoral offices.”
A National Ex-Officio of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hassana Arkila, however, called on women to come together to form a strong united force that will make an impact politically and take over from the men.
“Women are the only ones that make things happen and if we join our hands together, these men will go nowhere because we are the majority. We can influence the youth and even convince our husbands if we know how to play our cards well.”
The forum brought together women from different political parties to assess the challenges they faced during the last general elections and seek ways to address them in the future.