By Chinedu Adonu
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC yesterday expressed concern over low participation of women in the electoral process in the country.
The Residents Electoral Commissioner, REC, Enugu, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, who made this known during a one-day meeting with Initiative for Gender and Social Development, IGSD, at Top Rank Hotel, Enugu, urged women to fully participate in 2019 general elections
Ononamadu who was represented by INEC Administrative Secretary, Mr Enyinnaya Onyekwere, urged women to come out en mass to vote saying that women participation in the electoral process would foster progress in Nigeria.
He advised participants to mobilise other women to use their voters’ cards as a weapon to bring about positive change in the country.
“Election is at the very critical stage and as a commission, we are gender sensitive. We are passionate about fostering women’s participation and political visibility in Nigeria. We created a Gender desk office in INEC to accommodate everybody in elections.
“We had met with the security agency and they have guaranty the security of everyone. Urge your children to avoid violence before, during and after the election.
“I urge you to go back to your various zone and educate others and come out en- masse to vote for their choice of candidates”, He said.
In her address, the Gender Desk Officer, INEC, Enugu, Mrs Edna Nnolum, commended women for their participation during the Continuous Voters Register, CVR which yielded a good result and urged them to do same during voting proper.
Mrs Nnolum disclosed that the implementation meeting would put women Civil Society Organisations, CSO’s action in context to facilitate good outing for women at the polls in their zones.
She encouraged women to get their Permanent Voters Card, PVCs, ready and also understand election day procedure as outlined by INEC to avoid voidable votes, vote selling and other electoral offences.
Edna who urged women and men to come out en- mass and exercise their franchise during the election, assured women of the preparedness of the INEC in collaboration with security agencies to ensure a free, fair and credible election.
“As at today, the Presidential and National Assembly election is only nine days away, while the governorship and state assembly poll will take place two weeks afterwards. This implementation meeting is now taking place to put CSO’s action in context to facilitate good outing for women at the polls.
“We shall concentrate on election day as well as post-election activities and ensure that women’s participation in the election is well supported,” she said.
The National President of Initiative for Gender and Social development, IGSD, Mr Christian Mmadu, disclosed that the implementation meeting was to sensitise women on the need to fully participate in the forthcoming election and the preparedness of INEC to ensure a free, fair and credible election.
He charged women CSOs who participated in the seminar to go back to the grassroots to sensitize others on the need to participate in the electoral process.