By Marvellous Nyang
About 300 women organisations under the aegis of the Feminist Womanifesto Group have condemned the expulsion of Mrs Ann Agom-Eze, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Ebonyi South senatorial district in the 2023 elections, describing the party’s action as unjust, unconstitutional and intimidation.
They have also appealed to the leadership of APC to reverse the suspension and expulsion Agom-Eze, and confirm her as the party’s 2023 Ebonyi South senatorial candidate.
The group appealed in a statement signed by Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, its Co-Convener on Sunday, August 21, 2022, in Abuja while condemning the development, as she described Agom-Eze’s expulsion as unjust, unconstitutional and intimidating.
“Every Nigerian citizen has the right to elect and be elected into any elective position, it is not the exclusive preserve of a selected few or a particular gender, “she said.
She noted that women and girls in the country had continued to face unprecedented challenges in political participation.
This, she said, was despite a push by women groups, coalitions, and civil society organisations to remove systematic barriers that held women back from equal participation in political leadership.
Akiyode-Afolabi said the event that led to the expulsion of Agom-Eze confirmed the rising push-back against the hard-won gains for women’s political rights.
She recalled that the APC, Ebonyi chapter, on Monday, Aug. 15, ordered the arrest of Agom-Eze over alleged anti-party activities and perjury in the state.
This, she said, followed an unsubstantiated accusation by her political rivals and their supporters in the state which indicated widespread gender inequalities.
“The expulsion of Agom-Eze may portray deliberate exclusion of women from political participation. There is a need to respect the National Gender Policy of 35 per cent affirmative action, the INEC Gender Policy, and the APC manifesto on affirmative action.
“The purported suspension and expulsion have disparagingly defamed Agom-Eze, with the intent to blackmail her into backing out from the senatorial race which is unacceptable, unethical, and unjust,” Akiyode-Afolabi said.
She added that there had been incessant threats to Agom-Eze’s life.
She explained that the Nigerian Constitution emphasised inclusiveness and autonomy as a way of ensuring that the benefits of national citizenship were shared equally across Nigeria’s complex spectrum of diversity.
Akiyode-Afolabi, therefore, called on APC’s leadership in Ebonyi and its National Chairman and other executive members to take immediate measures to address the situation.
She said this should go beyond reinstating Agom-Eze to publicly apologising to her in the media and ensuring that her candidacy was secured.
She added that the party’s leadership should also ensure an end to all forms of threat to Agom-Eze’s life, intimidation and defamation of her character by her political rivals.
“We demand a reversal of the suspension on Agom-Eze and the Chairman, Mr John Ogboji of Umudomi Ward, in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi from the party,” she stressed.
She noted that women marginally participated in politics and had almost remained invisible in the party system because of discrimination, adding that the narrative must change.
The statement reproduced below:
WOMEN GROUPS CONDEMN THE UNJUST EXPULSION, DEFAMATION, THREAT TO LIFE, INTIMIDATION, AND HARASSMENT OF MRS ANN NWANYIBUIFE AGOMEZE, THE SENATORIAL CANDIDATE OF THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) EBONYI SOUTH SENATORIAL ZONE.
We, the undersigned, of the Feminist Womanifesto Group, condemn in strong terms the unjust expulsion, intimidation, oppression, threat to life, and victimization of Mrs. Ann Agomeze, who has decided to serve her constituency as the senatorial candidate of the APC, for Ebonyi South Zone.
Every citizen of Nigeria has the right to elect and be elected into any of the elective positions, it is not the exclusive preserve of a selected few or a particular gender. Women and girls in Nigeria continue to face an unprecedented set of challenges in political participation.
Despite the push by women groups, coalitions, and civil society organizations in Nigeria to remove systematic barriers that hold women back from equal participation in political leadership, the historic event that led to the expulsion of APC’s Senatorial candidate, Mrs. Ann-Agomeze evidences the rising pushback against the hard-won gains for women’s political rights.
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Ebonyi State chapter, on Monday, August 15th ordered the immediate arrest of the Ebonyi South senatorial candidate, Mrs. Ann-Agomeze over alleged anti-party and perjury against the party in the state, due to the unsubstantiated accusations by her senatorial rival, Governor David Umahi and his party supporters which indicates the widespread gender inequalities that persist and the current imbalance in political power.
The expulsion of Mrs. Ann-Agomeze by the APC leadership without a fair hearing is unconstitutional, it reinforces patriarchy and it portrays the deliberate exclusion of women from political participation, even when the case between both parties, Governor David Umahi, and Mrs. Ann-Agomeze is at the Appeal Court.
This highlights a high level of impunity by the Ebonyi South APC party Leadership, and a lack of will by APC to respect the National Gender Policy 35% affirmative action, the INEC Gender Policy, and the APC party manifesto on Affirmative action.
The purported suspension/ expulsion has disparagingly defamed Mrs. Agomeze, with the intent to blackmail her into backing out from the senatorial race which is unacceptable, unethical, and unjust. There have been incessant threats to her life which is a criminal act.
The Nigerian Constitution emphasizes inclusiveness and autonomy as a way of ensuring that the benefits of national citizenship are shared equally across Nigeria’s complex spectrum of diversity. The governor has been a chairman of PDP, he has been a deputy governor, and now a governor. He aspired to be the president of this country Nigeria.
While Mrs. Agomeze aspired to be the Senator of Ebonyi South Senatorial Zone. These are two different aspirations and by the provisions of our 2022 electoral law, one cannot sign two nomination forms in the same electoral year.
However, when the governor failed in his bid for the President, he resorted to blackmail, intimidation, and victimization despite the federal High court judgment sitting in Abakaliki, recognizing Mrs. Ann Agomeze as the senatorial candidate of All Progressive Congress Ebonyi South.
We, therefore, call on the political leadership of the APC Party in Ebonyi State including the National Chairman and other executive members at all levels of the APC, and all other relevant actors to take immediate measures – beyond reinstating her from the suspension/expulsion, to publicly apologize the media publications, ensure that her candidacy is secured and end all forms of threat to her life, intimidation, defamation and violence against Mrs. Ann-Agomeze.
Womanifesto, therefore, demands a reverse of the suspension on Agomeze and the Chairman Mr. John Ogboji of Umudomi Ward, in Onicha Local Government Area, Ebonyi State, from the party. As of today, in Nigeria, women marginally participate in politics; women have almost remained invisible in the party system.
While the APC party claims to encourage women participation in elective positions through free nomination, yet they are discriminated against in practice. This action is a setback and condemnable.
Signed on behalf of Women Groups
Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi
1. 100 Women Lobby Group (100WLG)
4. Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls
5. Above Whispers Foundation
6. Action Aid Nigeria
7. ACTS Generation GBV
8. Ade Grange Child Foundation
9. ADEM Community Human Development Foundation
10. Adinya Arise Foundation (AAF)
11. Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI)
12. Advocate for Health and Development Initiative
13. Affirmative Action Initiative for Women (NCAA)
14. African Women’s Initiative (AWI)
15. Ajegunle Community Project
16. Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation
17. Alliances for AFAica (AfA)
18. Amaclaire Connect and Development initiative
19. Amazing Grace Inspirations
20. Aminchi Women Cooperative Society
21. Amnesty International Nigeria
23. ARDA Development Communication Inc.
24. Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation.
25. ASSOCIATION OF ALIWE DAUGHTERS INTERNATIONAL (AADI)
26. Association of Nigeria Women’s Business Network (ANWBN)
27. Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN)
28. Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture (AWITA)
30. ATATA Development and Empowerment Foundation (ADEF)
31. Attah sisters helping hand foundation (Ashh foundation)
34. Baobab for Women’s Human Rights
35. BLECCA Foundation
36. Bring Back Our Girls
37. Briskila Emefesi Women Foundation (BEWOF)
38. Cece Yara Foundation
39. Cedar Seed Foundation
40. CEE-HOPE Nigeria
41. Center for Economic Empowerment and Gender Activities (CEEGA)
42. Center for Women’s Health and Information
43. Centre for Alternative Development and Self-Enhancement (CEADESE NG)
44. Centre for Health and Development in Africa (CHEDA)
45. Centre for Media and Development Communications
46. Centre for Nonviolence and Gender Advocacy in Nigeria (CENGAIN)
47. Centre for Peace Education and Community Development
48. Centre for Women’s Health and Information (CEWHIN)
49. Champion Women Entrepreneurs Mentoring Association (CWEMA)
50. Change Managers International Network
51. Charity Women Spring of Salvation
52. Chedal Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society
53. Child Care and Adult Protection Initiative (CCAPI)
54. Choung-Dung Women Association.
55. Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment in Nigerian Society (CWEENS)
56. Christian Women in Nigerian Politics
57. Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR)
58. Citizenship and Human Development Initiative
59. Civil Resource Development and Documentation Center (CIRDDOC)
60. Community and Youth Development
61. Community Education Advancement of Peace and Development Initiative (CEAPDI)
62. Community Initiative for Healthy and Peaceful Society
63. Community Life Project (CLP)
64. Community Rescue Initiative (CRI)
65. Community Women Initiatives (CWI)
66. Country Associates Network (CAN)
67. Courageous People Health and Development Initiative (CPHDL)
68. Crestville Development Foundation (CDF)
70. Daria Media Foundation (DMF)
71. Development in Practice Gender and Entrepreneurial Initiative (DIPGEI)
72. Diaspora Womanifesto2019
73. DICCAN EMPOWERMENT FOUNDATION
74. Dinidari Foundation (DF)
75. Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF)
76. Dr. Oby Ezekwesili
77. Dream Alive Women and Orphans Support Foundation (DAWOS Foundation)
78. Echoes of Women in Africa Initiatives
79. Edo Women’s Development Initiative
80. Education As A Vaccine (EVA)
81. EiE Nigeria
82. Emerge Women (EW)
83. Empowerment and Action Research Centre (EARC)
84. Equality Through Education Foundation (ETEF)
85. Equity Advocates/ The Woman Today Newspaper
86. FACICP Disability Plus
87. FAITH-ALIVE VULNERABLE FOUNDATION (FAVF)
88. FAME Foundation
92. Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON)
93. Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN)
94. Federation of Paralegal Network (FEDPAN)
95. FEHAP INITIATIVE
96. Fembridge Development Initiative (FEDI)
97. First Future Leadership
98. Former Women Action Organization (WAO)
99. Forum of Nigerian Women in Politics (FONWIP)
100. Forward in Action for Education, Poverty and Malnutrition (FACE-PAM)
101. Foundation for Justice Development and Peace (FJDP)
103. Gender Action Awareness Trust
104. Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN)
105. Gender and Development Action (GADA)
106. Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI)
107. Gender Awareness Trust (GAT)
108. Gender Development Initiative
109. Gender Equality Center
110. Gender Equality, Peace and Development Centre
111. Gender Strategy Advancement International
112. Gender Technical Unit (GTU)
113. Girl Child Advocacy and Education Initiatives
114. Girl Child Africa
115. Girl Child Education, Care & Rehabilitation
116. Girl Education Rehabilitation and Care (GERAC)
117. Girls Power Initiative (GPI)
118. Global Hope for Women and Children Foundation (GLOHWOC)
119. Green Spring Development Initiative
120. Habiba Dangana (Hadis) Foundation
121. Heal Disability Initiative
122. Health Education and Human Rights Advocacy Initiative
123. Health for the Society Justice and Peace Initiative
124. Health Reform Foundation Of Nigeria(HERFON)
125. HEIR Women Development (HWD)
126. Help Initiative for Social Justice & Humanitarian Development
127. Hope for New Life (HNL)
128. Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development (IRIAD)
129. Inter Africa Committee (IAC)
130. Inter Gender Peace Foundation (IGPF)
131. International Action Network on Small Arms Women Network (IANSA)
132. International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)Nigeria
133. International Hairstylists, Barber and Body Therapists (IHSTOBAN)
134. International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH)
135. International Women Communication Centre (IRIAD)
136. Iyaniwura Children Care Foundation (ICCF)
137. Jamatul Nasir Islam, Women Wing
138. Jana Health Foundation (JHF)
139. Julie Oyegun
140. Justice Development and Peace Mission (JDPM)
141. Kebetkache Women Development And Resources Centre
142. KMashi Gamji Women
143. Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND)
144. Kungiyar Tallafin Mata Development Initiative (KTMDI)
145. League of Queens International Empowerment (LQIE)
146. League of Women Voters of Nigeria (NILOWV)
148. Legislative Advocacy Coalition on Violence Against Women Initiative (LACVAW)
149. Lift Initiative
150. MBULA Women Association
151. Media &Teens Network
152. Media Concern Initiative (MediaCon) for Women and Children
154. More Women in Politics
155. My Voice My Future NGO
156. Nasrul – Lahi-L- Faith Society (NASFAT)
157. National Centre for Women Development
158. National Council of Women Societies (NCWS)
161. NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women
162. Neighbourhood Care-Well Foundation
163. Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, NRHJN
164. Network of Women with Disabilities
166. Next Initiative for Gender Actions (NIGA)
167. NGAS Women Farmers’ Cooperative Society
168. Nigeria Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ)
169. Nigeria For Women Project
170. Nigeria Labour Congress, Women Committee
171. Nigerian Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ)
172. Nigerian Express
173. Nigerian Women Politics Forum
174. Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NTWF)
176. Ogayem Merciful Care and Support Initiatives (OMCSI)
177. Ogun Women Alive
178. Okwuzi Women Forum
179. Olive Community Development Initiatives
180. Onomese Foundation
181. Open Arms Initiative for Sustainable Development (OPAISD)
182. Osi Joe Touching Lives Initiative
183. Ovie Brume Foundation
184. Partners West Africa
185. Peace Heritage Foundation
186. Peasant Dragnet
187. Princess Olufemi-Kayode
188. Proactive Gender Initiative (PGI)
189. Project Alert on Violence Against Women
190. Ray of Hope Community Foundation
191. ReCHDI Gombe
192. Relief Development Initiative Kaduna
193. Responsible Citizenship and Human Development Initiative
194. Safe Space Initiative
195. Save a Child Lend a Hand Foundation
196. Sesor Empowerment Foundation
197. She Forum Africa
198. She Mentors Initiative
199. Sheforshe Africa Initiative
200. Shout Global Health
201. Small-scale Women Farmers Organization of Nigeria (SWOFON)
202. South- South Professional Women Association.
203. Stand to End Rape (STER)
204. Stephanie Peace Building Development Foundation
205. Support For Needy Children and Women Initiative (SUNCHI)
207. The Inclusion Project (TIP)
208. The Priceless Jewels Foundation
209. THR Media
210. THR Media – HERFESSIONS INITIATIVE
211. Tonia Bruised but Not Broken Foundation
212. Transformation and Development Center (TDC)
213. Transition Monitoring Group
214. Tunde & Friends Foundation (TAFF)
215. UC Women Commission
216. UTO Foundation
217. Virgin Heart Foundation
218. Vision Spring Initiatives (VSI)
219. Voice of Ogun Women (VOW)
220. Voice of women and children initiative VOWCI Zamfara
222. West African Network for Peace
223. WEWENETWORK AFRIQUE
224. Widows Development Organisation
225. Widows Development Organization (WIDO)
227. Woman-Being Concern Nigeria (WBC)
228. Women &Youth Awareness Empowerment Network (WOYAEN)
229. Women Advocacy, HIV Prevention and Other Diseases (WAHPOD)
230. Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC)
231. Women Aid Collective (WACOL)
232. Women and Youth Empowerment for Advancement and Health Initiative
233. Women AT Risk International Foundation(WARIF)
234. Women Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON)
235. Women Democracy Network Africa – Nigeria
236. Women education advocacy and development Initiatives (WEADI)
237. Women Empowerment and Initiative Development
238. Women Empowerment and Reproductive Health Centre (WERHC)
239. Women Empowerment Education and Peace Building Initiative (WEPBI)
240. Women Environmental Programme (WEP)
241. Women Farmers Alliance (WFA)
242. Women for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative (WOPEGEE)
243. Women for Women International (W4WI)
244. Women Foundation Initiative (WFI)
245. Women Foundation of Nigeria (WFN)
246. Women in Action for Positive Development and Gender Enhancement Center (WAPGADEC)
247. Women in Africa Initiative (WIAI)
248. Women in Agriculture (WIA)
249. Women in Extractives
250. Women in Humanitarian Response in Nigeria Initiative
251. Women in Management Buisness and Public Service (WIMBIZ)
252. Women in Mining in Nigeria (WIM)
253. Women in Politics Forum (WIPF)
254. Women Information Network (WINET)
255. Women Initiative for Democracy and Empowerment (WIDE)
256. Women Initiative on Climate change
257. Women Law and Development Initiative (WOLDI)
258. Women Law Development Center of Nigeria (WLDCN)
259. Women Lead Agric (WLA)
260. Women League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
261. Women of Vision Development Initiative
262. Women Optimum Development Foundation-WODEF
263. Women Protection Organization (WOPO)
264. Women Right to Education Programme (WREP)
265. Women Wing of The Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN)
266. Women Youth and Children Upliftment Foundation (WYCUT)
267. Women, Infants and Children Care Initiative (WICCI)
268. Women, Youths and Children Advancement Program
269. Women’s Crisis Centre Owerri
270. Women’s Leadership Group (WLG)
271. Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA)
272. Women’s Rights and Health Project
273. Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP)
274. WomenPreneurs (AWEBO)
275. Working Moms Africa (WMA)
276. Yiaga Africa
277. Youth Future Savers Initiative (YFSI)
278. Zonta International Club of Lagos 1