- Nigeria's first lady, Aisha Buhari has urged political parties to consider women as running mates to candidates contesting elections
- Ms Buhari made this known on Saturday, April 23, when she hosted presidential aspirants to an Iftar dinner
- Presidential aspirants such as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Dave Umahi and Governor Bala Mohammed attended the dinner
Aso Rock, Abuja - In what appears to be the main reason for inviting presidential aspirants to dinner, the wife of Nigeria’s president, Aisha Buhari, has urged political parties to always consider women as running mates to candidates contesting elections for various positions.
The first lady said this on Saturday night, April 23, when she hosted presidential aspirants from various political parties to a Ramadan (Iftar) breakfast at the State House, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the Iftar was organised by the first lady to provide opportunity for the aspirants to share love and happiness with one another in the spirit of Ramadan and in a quest for nation building.
The need for fair-play for women in politics
Ms Buhari said fair play for women in politics was to ensure their greater participation in elective positions.
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“In fact, it is high time women are adopted as running mates at all levels considering their voting strength and active involvement in political processes.
“As we approach the 2023 election with greater hope, I am confident that Nigeria will continue to grow from strength to strength on the pedestal of our democratic tenets."
What should you should focus on, Aisha Buhari tells presidential aspirants
Ms Buhari enjoined the presidential aspirants to remain focused on issues that strengthened the nation`s unity, brotherhood and national cohesion.
She also reminded her guests that the 2015 election was a watershed in the history of Nigeria.
"It was neither contested in the court of law, nor in the court of public opinion.
“Therefore, the greatest end-of-tenure gift that fellow Nigerians can give to the first family is another free and globally-acknowledged fair election come 2023," she appealed.
The first lady urged all the aspirants to ensure tolerance, fair-play and avoid violent tendencies by building bridges where necessary, especially during electioneering campaigns.
VP Yemi Osinbajo speaks, says election not do-or-die affair
Speaking at the event, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who was represented by a former governor of Edo state, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor, urged all aspirants to play politics without bitterness.
Osinbajo said the event offered Nigerians from different faiths and background the opportunity to reunite with one another to foster unity.
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"It is an opportunity for aspirants from various political parties to meet one another and the lesson we should learn from here is to practise politics without bitterness as we move closer to election year.
"We should try to imbibe the spirit of oneness because at the end of the only one person is going to emerge winner of the Presidential election next year.
“So, it is not going to be do-or-die affairs, we should learn to practise politics without bitterness,’’ he said.
APC leader Tinubu speaks
Also, one of the frontline APC aspirants and former governor of Lagos Ssate, Sen. Bola Tinubu, expressed gratitude to the first lady for bringing the diverse groups of Nigerians to share love and unity.
He prayed for brotherliness, peace, unity and prosperity of Nigeria.
Governor Dave Umahi speaks
On his part, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi and another APC aspirant, expressed appreciation to the first lady for bringing the presidential aspirants together to foster unity and nation cohesion.
“I must also thank you because this should be about our nation, about our patriotism, we should always place our nation above our individual interests.
“As we have aspired to lead this nation, I think that Nigerians should be able to evaluate, is not going to be promises, is going to be ticking the box.
“The opportunity given to us as leaders, what did we do with it, so, this kind of gathering is highly encouraged because it is going to douse a lot of tensions."
PDP presidential aspirant Bala Mohammed speaks
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state and PDP presidential aspirant said the gathering was historic going by the calibre of people in attendance.
He promised to play the game with humility and mutual respect.
“I promise to do the politicking with the interest of Nigeria in my mind, respect for one another irrespective of our party differences,’’ he said.
Come without phones, Aisha Buhari invites Tinubu, Osinbajo, Atiku, Saraki, Obi, others
Recall that the First Lady had invited presidential aspirants across political parties to an Iftar dinner at the Presidential Villa on Saturday, April 23.
As contained in the invitation card seen by Leadership, the event will commence by 6:30 pm at the State House Conference Centre.
The card also instructed invitees to come without their mobile phones, but with the invite which would guarantee entry into the venue.