The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on Nigerian women to participate more in the electoral processes ahead of the general elections in 2023.
The Deputy director of Gender relations under Gender and inclusivity department in INEC, Chika Osuji, made this call on Saturday at a community workshop organised by WAVE Foundation in Mpape, Abuja.
Ms Osuji explained the need for women to be more involved in political activities.
She said: “women have always been at the background in the electoral process even though we make the highest number in Nigeria’s population.
“We are not competing with men but the women should be given chance to contribute and be part of the electoral process.”
The electoral officer also urged men to encourage women to register, collect their Permanent Voters Cards and vote during elections.
“When a man is representing women in issues concerning women, it won’t be as good as a woman representing the issues of women because it is only the woman that will know the needs and peculiarities of women.
“Women, you have what it takes to make an informed choice and know who to support during election,” Ms Osuji said.
Also present at the workshop was the Councillor, Wuse ward, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mathias Aliu, who encouraged women saying, “they have a lot of strength because women are usually more than the men when it comes to voting. They have a strong say on who becomes the leader.”
The woman leader of AMAC and Bwari, Aisha Saidu, noted that the reason women do not vote is because “men prevent them due to religion”.
“It’s not that women do not want to vote but it’s because of the men. They say the religion does not allow it.
“We call on Muslim men particularly to allow their wives to vote and participate in the society,” she explained.
Meanwhile, the President of WAVE Foundation, Lola Ibrahim, said the event was organised so that women will be more involved in issues of governance.
Statistics, reason for low turnout of female voters
Some of the challenges that have been mentioned to prevent women from participating in electoral matters include: patriarchy, stigmatisation, low level of education, hectic schedules, financing, political violence, religious and cultural barriers.
This is according to a paper titled ‘Monitoring Participation of Women in Politics in Nigeria’ and published by United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD)
Furthermore, analyses by PREMIUM TIMES and Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in 2019 showed that the number of women elected to public offices in Nigeria did not increase after the year’s election.
They added that there was a decline to any progress made in women’s previous outings since the inception of the fourth republic.
For instance, in 2019, the fact sheet from the two organisations indicated that only 2,970 women were on the electoral ballot which represented 11.36 per cent of nominated candidates.
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