Women Affairs Minister, Tallen Withdraws From Senatorial Race

 

The Minister of Women Affairs, Helen Tallen, has announced her withdrawal from the senatorial race ahead of the general elections in 2023.

She made the announcement in a statement on Monday – the final day to decide whether to resign as minister to pursue her political ambition or to reconsider the move.

Tallen, who initially announced to contest for the Plateau South senatorial seat in the National Assembly, had picked the expression of interest and nomination forms of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

She was one of the 10 ministers President Muhammadu Buhari had directed to resign if they must contest for any political office in the 2023 elections.

“With profound gratitude and great humility, I have decided to voluntarily step down from the senatorial race sequel to the yearnings of women and other well-meaning Nigerians who see the need for a strong voice for women at the Senate, having consulted widely with my family, well-wishers and supporters, conscious of the role I play for women in Nigeria today,” the minister said.

“So, to all Nigerian women and young girls who have raised concerns as to what next, rest assured that I, Dame Pauline K. Tallen, OFR, KSG have not submitted any resignation letter and therefore, it is my decision not to go ahead with this request but carry on as the Minister of Women Affairs.”

On Wednesday last week, President Buhari directed all appointed members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) running for elective offices to resign on or before May 16 – a directive which affected Tallen.

Two days later, the President held a valedictory session for the affected persons to appreciate them for their service. Since, the President’s directive, some of the ministers have reconsidered their decision to vie for elective offices.

Apart from Tallen, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, as well as the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, have also pulled out of the Kebbi State governorship election and presidential race respectively.

Read the full statement by Tallen below:

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE STATUS OF HONOURABLE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS RESIGNATION

I stand here today thankful to God for His abiding faith in my life and for the multiple opportunities for me to serve this country in various capacities, humbled by the love, support and commitment shown me by well-meaning Nigerians, with the intent for the good of the great people of the Southern Senatorial District of Plateau State.

Mindful of the task before us, I am deeply grateful for the trust vested in me as we all strive to make meaningful contributions for the greater good of our country as a whole. Women groups and other stakeholders had thought it wise to purchase an expression of interest form under the APC for me to participate in the forthcoming elections.

I would like to thank and assure all my supporters that while their intention was well conceived, my current work in superintending the numerous projects for Mr President as Women Affairs Minister require my undivided attention.

Additionally, whilst their quest is a good move in support of the clamour for more women in elective and appointive positions, and considered to be critical in addressing the gender question, I am compelled to focus on the foundations we have laid towards the advancement and realisation of gender equality in leadership positions in the country.

I wish to thank Mr. President for his commitment to the advancement of Nigerian women and his acclaimed promise to support and spotlight the importance of women in our society. Our nation has a long-standing commitment in overcoming the challenges that inhibit women from bringing about positive changes and the requisite impacts when given a place at the table of decision making.

My appointment as the Minister of Women Affairs is indicative of this progress and I cannot lose sight of this opportunity. Our quest for gender equality and broadening access to enable women to participate meaningfully in nation building, is at the heart of my desire to unlock the potentials of women to bring about positive change in the history of Nigeria.

The instruments with which we aim to bring about these changes may be new but the values upon which our success rests are most critical, if appreciable, progress is to be made in fulfilling our well-conceived gender agenda. I remain resolute as I continue to relish the opportunity to serve Nigerian women in my capacity as Minister of Women Affairs under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.

Consequently, I wish to inform you all that following broad based consultations and interventions from critical stakeholders, I have decided to withdraw from running for the senatorial seat mindful of our accomplishments and the notable progress we have recorded under my stewardship at the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs. Above all, as we celebrate our modest achievements, we are also conscious of the opportunities and achievements yet to be harnessed for Nigerian Women under this administration.

As a humble servant of Nigerian women, I am overwhelmed by the hard work, courage, patriotism and loyalty displayed by women and I remain resolute to ride on these foundations to enable us build solid structures to yield strategic progress to add through our history. I wish to thank the First Lady of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Aisha Buhari, the team from my constituency and all well-wishers who have consistently stood by me through the years, you are deeply appreciated!

At this crucial point in our Nation’s history with women’s participation at the lowest ebb with just 6.7% at the parliament, it is my desire to see a better picture with Nigeria taking its rightful place as the true giant of Africa, and with that I have taken an informed perspective to support more Women across all political spheres at this time.

With profound gratitude and great humility, I have decided to voluntarily step down from the senatorial race sequel to the yearnings of women and other well-meaning Nigerians who see the need for a strong voice for women at the Senate having consulted widely with my family, well-wishers and supporters’ conscious of the role I play for Women in Nigeria today!

So, to all Nigerian women and young girls who have raised concerns as to what next, rest assured that I, Dame Pauline K. Tallen, OFR, KSG have not submitted any resignation letter and therefore, it is my decision not to go ahead with this request but carry on as the Minister of Women Affairs.

Furthermore, mindful that the Constitution of APC stipulates in Article 31 (1) (iii) (October 2014 As Amended),  that: “Any Party Office holder interested in contesting for an elective office (whether party office or office in a general election) shall resign and leave office 30 days prior to the date of nomination or party primary for the office he or she is seeking to contest aspiring to any office must have resigned his/her appointment days”.

It will, therefore, be a breach to resign office at this time since this was not done ahead of the stipulated timeline. I wish to mention that what is required of us now is a new era of responsibility, a renewed vigour for us to collectively raise the tempo of partnership and reinvent the strategies to shape the uncertain destinies of Nigerian women and girls in Nigeria.

Riding on the promise of an enhanced citizenship for the women folk, I am confident of our commitment to carrying on our advocacy and determination to get more women to participate in politics, in order to close up gender gaps in our dear country and ensure that the voice of the less privileged in the country, is heard.

Once again, I thank the good people of Plateau State Southern Senatorial District and appeal to them to continue to support the incumbent Senator, Prof. Nora Daduut to sustain the women’s political force.

Thank you!

Signed:

Dame Pauline. K. Tallen OFR, KSG

Honourable Minister

Federal Ministry of Women Affairs