Elections: NGO tasks women on voting credible female candidates

Owerri, – Tomorrow’s Women Development Organisation (TWDO) an NGO, has advised Nigerian women to ensure they voted into power credible women contesting various positions in the forthcoming general elections.

The National Coordinator of the organisation, Mrs Chinyere Ezenwokike, gave the advice at a Town Hall Meeting with women groups and gender focused Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Saturday in Owerri.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was themed: “Enhanced Participation of Women in Politics’’.

Ezenwokike, who spoke on “Women Participation and the 2019 General Elections: Rational and Challenge’’, said women must take advantage of their population to alter the political narrative.

Ezenwokike therefore, said women should recognise the capacity of other women in politics, adding that female candidates, irrespective of their political parties, must be encouraged through women votes in order to clinch power.

She noted that election could only be said to be truly representative and credible when women fully participated, and were included in all the electoral processes.

She pointed out that women did not only consist of the majority population, but also played crucial roles in the society.

Ezenwokike observed that in spite of the little efforts by women in politics, traditional and cultural perception of women as inferior to men, had continued to prevail.

She said women participation in politics must be increased and sustained, calling on the men to support and invest in women, in order to overcome gender discrimination.

“Women need to come out en-mass to participate in the forthcoming election by voting the right candidates.

“The more women that are allowed to participate in the political decision making process in government; the more they are given a chance to develop the country.

“Achieving the goal of equal participation of women and men in decision making positions will provide an accurate balance which reflects the composition of the society, interest and the general good of all citizens’’, she said.

Ezenwokike, however, identified some of the factors affecting women participation in politics to include gender and cultural challenges, ideology, pre-determined social roles assigned to women; as well as male dominance and control.

Prof. Francis Ezeonu INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Imo, advised the women to develop interest in politics and be resilient and resolute in contributing their quota to national development.

Ezeonu advised the electorate, especially the women, to ensure they collected their PVCs and voted wisely.

The REC, represented by the commission’s Head of Voter Education Programme (VEP) Mr Sunday Adedoyin, explained that INEC had spent a lot of resources to ensure that women developed interest and participated in politics.

“Women should no longer take the back seat when it comes to politics, as the desire of INEC is that women should show interest in politics.

“INEC wants to partner with women in all aspects to improve their perception and awareness of the processes leading to elections.

“ After 2019, we want more women in politics in 2023, 2027 and beyond,” he said.

NAN reports that women from the National Council for Women Societies, faith-based women groups and CSOs attended the programme.

The participants expressed their gratitude to INEC and the NGO for organising the programme which they said was an eye opener for women.

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