…reassures of its committment to active participation of women in electoral process
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Anambra State has reassured its committment to active participation of women in electoral process, particularly during the forthcoming general elections.
Deputy Director in charge of Civil Society Organizations Division, INEC headquarters, Ndidi Okafor, gave the assurance on Wednesday during townhall meeting with women groups and gender focused civil society organizations in the state.
She said the commission was eager to see more women move beyond singing and dancing for politicians to taking active part in political activities in the state.
She also regretted increasing level of violence pepetuated by young people before, during and after elections, attributing it partly to nonchalant attitude of parents, particularly mothers.
She said, “Women can do more than dancing, singing. How can you be comfortable with singing for politicians when there are no drugs in hospitals and your children are sitting on bare floor to learn?
“What’s wrong with you emerging National Chairperson of a major political party other than woman leader? Women are well educated and intellectually healthy to also contribute to governance.
“That’s why the commission has a written document attesting to its commitment to ensuring increased participation of women in the electoral process, including gender policy which speaks a lot to its commitment.
“The commission has also established a gender and inclusivity department to carter for electoral needs of women and marginalized groups, which also attests to the same commitment.
“Overtime, women have been sidelined ocasioned by religious, cultural, social and economic reasons. All these have connived to put women down. But now, INEC is saying that women can contribute to nation building.
“The women on their part, have decided not to be behind, but beside; it’s a gradual process because of the partriachal nature of the society that women should not be heard.
“We’re glad with the cooperation of some men, especially those we call he-for-she, men who believe in the capacity of women to come to the table and not the menu.”
Also speaking, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs. Ify Obinabo urged women in the state to take advantage of their positions in homes to convince their husbands and children on the need to play positive roles in the political processes.
“Women should see themselves as agent of change. We’re expecting them to participate fully during the elections. We’ve started that already by encouraging them to register and collect their PVCs,” she said.
Earlier, State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Queen Elizabeth Agwu said the meeting was targeted at encouraging women to speak to their children, particularly those who willingly submit themselves in hands of unscrupulous politicians to forment violence.
Agwu, represented by Head, General Administration and Procurement, Sunday Nwegbe described women as direct beneficiaries of elections outcome, positively or negatively, urging them to attach the exercise the seriousness it deserved.
“We are here to sensitize women to appreciate they bear much of the brunt; that’s why they should appeal to their children to shun violence and be part of those who will contribute to peaceful elections in the state,” she said.