A former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on Thursday said he would write another open letter but it would take a while before he would do so.
He also advised women to come out of their self-exclusion from governance and begin to take active part in politics.
Obasanjo, who said this at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, while fielding questions from women at the 14th annual lecture of the Women in Management, Business and Public Service, added that the membership of his Coalition for Nigeria Movement had hit three million.
Obasanjo said the CNM was making an inroad into the grass roots across the country, but he reiterated that he would pull out if the movement metamorphosed into a political party or became partisan in any form.
He said, “The Coalition for Nigeria Movement is penetrating to the grass roots. And presently there are over three million members who had registered.”
Asked whether he would write another open letter on a burning national issue concerning women marginalisation in governance, he replied that he would but it would take a while before doing so.
He said, “After my last letter, it will take some time before I write another one.”
The former President equally said women and the youth of the country would be accommodated in the movement because they had been marginalised in the scheme of things.
He said it was painful that since the country attained independence 57 years ago, no woman had been elected as the President, vice-president or senate president, despite the critical mass of womenfolk with merit and ability.
The theme of the lecture was: ‘Press for Progress: Women, Politics and Nation Building.’
Obasanjo, who delivered a keynote address at the event, added that there had been women in Nigerian history who made far-reaching changes in the society and their footprints had remained indelible.
He further argued that there was no tradition or culture that encouraged subjugation of women in Nigeria, but blamed the shortchanging of the womenfolk in the scheme of things on what he termed the selfishness of men.
While he noted that women formed 52 per cent of Nigeria’s population, the former president added that women were more reliable in politics than men.
He said, “In politics, if a woman says she is with you, rest assured she meant it. But if a man says he is with you and you find him attending another meeting of an opposing party, he tells you it is politics.”
Obasanjo challenged women to take their rightful place in the political space in 2019, stressing that no one would concede any space to them unless they fought for it.
Obasanjo urged Nigerian women to take a cue from America, saying if being a woman alone was what it takes to succeed politically, Mrs. Hilary Clinton would have emerged as the President of the United States of America.
He said, “If only womanhood was enough to get Mrs. Hilary Clinton president of the United States of America, she would have made it to the White House.
“She is beautiful but she had an opponent, a man (Donald Trump) who did what he could do to get to power.
“I don’t want or expect women to climb palm trees to harvest bunch of palm fruits. If anybody says he wants to see my mother climb palm trees, I will take a second look at that person. But women must do what it takes to succeed in the Nigerian political space.
“To you women, do not allow anybody to build your world for you. Build your world for yourself. Yes, women need encouragement and empowerment but they must do enough for themselves.”
On her own part, the Executive Council Chairperson of WIMBIZ, Olubunmi Aboderin-Talabi, described Nigerian women as “some of the most intelligent, capable, confident and compassionate creatures on God’s earth.”
She expressed the hope that a system that would give more women opportunities to hold elective and appointive positions would work in Nigeria.
Aboderin-Talabi said, “I believe that quota system that worked in Rwanda can work in Nigeria. I think that the playing field needs to be levelled and the government has to have affirmative action.
“It has to have a decision, a policy that says we want to have a minimum of 30 per cent of women in elective or appointive positions and I believe that Nigeria will be all the better for it.”
Similarly, one of the founding trustees of WIMBIZ, Yewande Zaccheus, expressed confidence that Nigerian women would play more roles politically inthe 2019 elections.
She said, “I think you can see that we have well over 500 women at this lecture today. Women are interested in politics and they are poised to take their place next year.
“We are going to be forming various coalitions; we are going to be getting involved in different ways to make sure that the impact of women is felt on the 2019 elections.
“It is a fact that next year is an election year, so clearly this is what is on the minds of most women because we have all realised that politics affects everything about our lives.
“We can’t stay away from it; it affects our lives, our businesses, our families so clearly the time is now and we really all want to be a part of it this time round.”