By Abiodun Esan
Ilorin – Eighty-two women are contesting for various elective posts in Kwara in the forthcoming polls.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Administrative Secretary in Kwara, Mr Martins Boris Chiroma said this on Friday in Ilorin.
He spoke at a Town Hall meeting with Women Groups and Gender Focus Civil Society Organisations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the town hall meeting was organised by International Women Communication Center (IWCC) in collaboration with INEC.
According to the Administrative Secretary, a total of 528 candidates are jostling for 34 positions in the state.
He said out of 35 candidates contesting for the governorship post, only two are women, and out of the 57 Senatorial candidates, seven are female.
“On the House of Representatives list, out of 83 candidates, only 10 are female,” he said.
Chiroma said out of 353 House of Assembly candidates, only 63 are female.
The Administrative Secretary expressed concern over the low level of participation of women in politics in the state.
“With this statistics, you will all agree with me that our womenfolk will have to buckle up,” Chiroma said.
According to him, the town hall was to give an up-date of the Commission’s state of preparedness towards the 2019 elections and the need for women to actively participate.
“It is important at this juncture to re-assure this august gathering and through you to the generality of Kwarans that the Commission is set to conduct free and credible elections,” the Administrative Secretary said.
Chiroma told the women that a total of 1,130, 266 PVCs have been collected by their owners, remaining 277, 134 to be collected.
The Executive Director, IWCC, Dr Limota Goroso Giwa, in her paper: “Women participation and the 2019 General Election: Rationale and Challenges” said the challenge of women in the state is fear of unknown.
“The challenge we have in Kwara State towards this 2019 general election is the fear of unknown.
“We are also afraid of thuggery, hooliganism, vote buying, vote apathy, insecurity of life and property and inability to vote for political candidates of your choice,” Goroso said.
She appealed to women as mothers and wives to advice their children and husbands against any act of thuggery and violence during the elections.
Goroso added that IWCC was committed to peaceful elections in the country.
“We recognise the fact that violence against women during elections is a threat to the integrity of the electoral process.
“It can affect women’s participation as voters and as candidates seeking for elective positions,” the IWCC boss said.
Another resource person, Hajia Salmat-Iyabode Muhammad appealed to women to vote according to their conscience.
Presenting her paper titled:“Issues and priorities for the 2019 General Elections”, Muhammad said women should vote for candidates of their choice without intimidation.
Muhammad, a lawyer and chairperson of Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA), also advised women to look at the manifesto of political parties to know the best party to vote for.
She also advised women to look at the antecedent of candidates before voting for them. (NAN)