By Douglas Okoro
Abakaliki – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and a gender based Civil Society Organisations, Initiative for Social Change in Africa (ISCA) have advocated for enhanced participation of women in politics in Ebonyi.
They made the call at a town hall meeting organised by the INEC in collaboration with ISCA for women groups including market women, Muslim women group, women-based CSOs and the National Council for Women Societies among others.
Mrs Esther Idam, gender desk officer in INEC, said the meeting was to sensitise women to effectively participate in the political process including voting in the elections.
“Inclusive elections is central to democracy; this meeting is part of the commission’s action points towards ensuring a more inclusive electoral process in Nigeria where all eligible voters are given equal opportunities without unfair barriers to choose their leaders”.
Idam noted that women have particular needs which included the need to make informed electoral decisions, adding that these needs should be deliberately achieved.
She added that INEC was committed to promoting gender equality in the political space in line with its assigned mandate as the administrator of the electoral process.
Prof. Eugene Nweke, ISCA executive Director, said women must be encouraged to participate fully in the general elections through training, sensitisation and reorientation.
He said that the meeting would address some fundamental challenges inhibiting women participation in politics and in the electoral process.
“This interactive town hall is designed to address issues and challenges facing women in an election and priorities that need to be addressed.
“The meeting will allay the fears of the women, address their challenges and ensure that they participate actively giving the peculiarities of women who are vulnerable and marginalised in political and electoral process in Nigeria,” Nweke said.
He said that the organisation had carried out grassroots door-to-door awareness campaigns to sensitize the women and youths on the importance of participation in the elections.
He appealed to the women not to sell their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) or exchange them for any price.