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Why I’m withdrawing from senatorial race -Women affairs minister

Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, has explained why she rescinded her ambition to become a senator in 2023.

Tallen disclosed this on Monday during a virtual programme organised by Pathfinder International and She Forum Africa with the theme ‘Partnership for goals: Advancing the gender agenda for sustainable development’.

According to the minister, she withdrew from the senatorial race to support a female senator from her senatorial zone.

The Minister was expected to resign following the recently signed electoral Act which expects public officers to resign their current appointment in line with its provision.

She said, “I have a sitting female senator. All I wanted was for her to continue. We have only eight women out of 109, my own senator from my senatorial zone is a woman, she is doing very well, and I’m fully ready to support her.”

While lamenting what she termed as political violence against women, the minister stated that her nomination form was picked for her by a group of women, adding that she had no hand in its procurement.

“While we were addressing the issue of gender-based violence, the issue of political violence against women is top on our agenda now. My senator has been harassed and intimated, that’s why on April 28 she withdrew and cried out that she wants to save her life and that of her children. Women in my senatorial zone rose up, there was nothing we didn’t do to appeal to her – that led to women in my senatorial zone to contribute money to buy forms for me. I didn’t use one dime to pick the forms,” the minister said.

Commenting further, Tallen bemoaned how more than half of the current female senators may not return and termed it as injustice against women, adding that it was wrong to fold her hands over such oppression.

Tallen added, “That was why I accepted the form, but there were guidelines that you have to resign 30 days before and that caught up with me. Not just my senator that her seat is threatened, about four out of the eight are not likely to come back.

“My own senator, the senator from Rivers State has been denied ticket, the only senator from North-East, who is the best candidate for the Governor in Adamawa is not coming back to the Senate, our sister Remi Tinubu her husband is going for presidential office so she cannot contest. Looking at the number of the remaining four, how are we sure they will return. Our governors are pushing them out because the Senate is becoming retirement ground, it is time for action.”

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