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From sentto-2643421-505-1042547068-brownh=hartford-hwp.com@returns.groups.yahoo.com Tue Jan 14 08:00:11 2003
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Date: 14 Jan 2003 12:24:28 -0000
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Subject: [BDPA-Africa] Digest Number 505

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Message: 2
Date: Sat, 11 Jan 2003 08:18:12 +0300
From: Douglas/Ungaro <dasha@clubinternetk.com>
Subject: Nigeria: Obasanjo to back wider female participation in PDP

from AFRICA NEWS UPDATE
Norwegian Council for Africa
(Fellesr├ądet for Afrika) a non-profit NGO
Web: http://www.afrika.no
email: update@afrika.no

Obasanjo to back wider female participation in PDP

By Madu Onuorah and Mohammed Abubakar, The Guardian (Nigeria), 10 January 2003

Abuja - Inundated by a legion of complaints alleging marginalisation of women in the just-concluded PDP primaries, President Olusegun Obasanjo has pledged to support any change in the party's constitution to provide increased opportunities for women candidates in future elections.

The President also promised to reconcile members of the PDP at all levels in order to consolidate ranks within the party and win the forthcoming presidential polls.

Obasanjo was speaking to 180 female aspirants of the party who visited the State House to seek his intervention to enable them achieve their political ambitions.

He said the women have to persuade the menfolk to allow you participate, because we are in a male-dominated society, and change would not be easy.

Obasanjo added that it was necessary for the women to work within the party to effect change in their favour, and promised to notify the PDP chairman of their requests.

In her introductory remarks, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Aishatu Ismail, who led the delegation, congratulated the President on his success at the PDP primaries, but added that one of the major sources of votes, the women, had grievances needing his intervention and support.

Earlier, Mrs. Josephine Anenih, women leader of the party, expressed concern at the marginalisation of women at all levels of the contest for elective offices in primaries. She requested the President to intervene in the matter.

Obasanjo, also speaking at a meeting with members of the PDP from Nassarawa State led by former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Chief Solomon Ewuga, said that reconciliation and restoration of internal harmony at all levels of the PDP is the immediate objective of Vice President Atiku Abubakar and myself.

According to him, that is what we want to achieve in every ward, every state and nationally. Members of the PDP must move forward as one strong, united party so that we can achieve the greatness the party has been destined for. We will seek to give everyone a sense of belonging and a belief that they can achieve whatever they aspire to within the PDP.

The President commended members of the delegation for their commitment to remaining loyal members of the PDP despite their grievances.

He added that if other members of the PDP behave like you, then we can solve whatever problems we have in the party.

Obasanjo stated that it is normal for elections of any kind to bring a certain amount of tension, friction and conflict in their wake.

Said he: That is the nature of elections. The issue really is how we deal with such conflicts when they occur and how the PDP can now move forward as one family.

He pledged to host a reconciliatory meeting of members of the PDP in Nassarawa State soon and other states where reconciliation is required.

In a related development, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mohammed Abba Gana has described the recent convention of the PDP's presidential primaries and the re-emergence Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar's joint ticket as a good omen for the country.

In the congratulatory letters sent separately to the two leaders, Abba Gana, noted the triumph of your joint ticket at the primaries is fitting appreciation of your administration's unparalleled achievements in the past three years and seven months.