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By Rotimi Ojomoyela, Ado-Ekiti

A renowned nollyhood star, Iniobong Edo has advocated for protection of women from all forms of discriminations and violence against women in politics.

Speaking during a Radio Town Hall Meeting in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, Ini Edo expressed worry that most women have been discouraged from vying for political offices due to Gender Based Violences such as, bullying, coersion, unhealthy notions against women, violence during elections, among others.

The Radio Town Hall Meeting was an initiative of Balm in Gilead Foundation, supported by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) with funding support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as confirmed by its Executive Director of BIGIF, Mrs Tumininu Adedeji.

The initiative also seeks to establish the link between gender-based electoral violence and the low level of participation of women in politics.

Addressing journalists during a news conference in Ado Ekiti, the Nollyhood star urged women to take advantage of their superior population to vie for leadership positions and ensure they make difference anytime they had an opportunity to serve

Earlier, while speaking on stopping the violence against women in politics, a guest discussant, Professor Christopher Oluwadare, and a gender activist, Mrs. Rita Ilevbare charged women not to be docile, but always go for what they believed in.

Also, the Chief Executive Officer of Women Development Initiative (NIGAWD) Mrs Abimbola Aladejare-Salako, said women deserved to be given preferences and protected against all ill activities of the society which could affect their morale.

She affirmed that NIGAWD was the Ekiti State partner for the Vote Not Fight VNF in 2014 and is currently working as the South West Partner for the campaign for the 2022 Ekiti and Osun governorship elections and 2023 general elections.

In a speech, the convener of the programme and Executive Director of Balm in Gilead Foundation, Mrs Tumininu Adedeji. said the town hall meeting was organized to reawaken the consciousness of women on gender equality and attainment of life goals.

She said “BIGIF has selected 80 local mobilizers and 3 Senatorial district supervisors across the 16 local government areas and in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to conduct voters sensitization, raise awareness on what constitutes VAWIP, encourage women and youth participation in the elections, and also to link victims of gender-based electoral violence to services.

After the town hall meetings, recommendations were reached among which are the need for Ekiti men to support more women in politics while political parties should review their policies to be gender-sensitive.

“Party should set up structures to mentor young women into politics and groom them politically. That all-female registered voters should visit the closest Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), office to obtain their PVCs.

It was also resolved that Political parties should organize a peaceful electioneering campaign before, during, and after the 2022 Ekiti off-cycle governorship election and the 2023 general elections in Ekiti State.

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