Benin – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Monday, said it was committed to conducting a free, credible and all-inclusive election come 2019 General Election.
INEC chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, gave the assurance at a one-day national consultation with key stakeholders on importance of women in politics organised by Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) in Benin.
Represented by Deputy Director, Gender Division, INEC Headquarters, Mrs Blessing Obidegwu, Yakubu said the commission was ready to collaborate with stakeholders to ensure that barriers that prevent women from actively participating in elections are addressed.
He explained that the commission was collaborating with development partners, including the United Nations (UN) Women towards achieving the goals.
The INEC boss appealed to electorate who are yet to collect their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to do so in the ongoing continuous registration exercise in the local government areas.
He called on participants not only to ensure that violence against women during elections are addressed but to also proffer strategies toward mitigating them.
The Edo State Deputy Governor, Mr Philip Shaibu, called on women to take advantage of their numerical strength to participate in the elections.
Shaibu advocated for the establishment of election violence tribunal to try electoral offenders.
He urged INEC to be involved in voters’ education before elections.
Earlier, the Executive Director, WARDC, Mrs Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said the essence of the programme was to weigh the various degree of electoral violence being recorded in Nigeria over the years.
Akiyode-Afolabi said many of the violence were perpetrated and incited by political elite and their associations.
She said that the programme was aimed at adopting a work plan for gender mainstreaming and mitigation of gender based violence during elections. (NAN)