The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has emphasised the importance of inclusivity in the political process as well as governance and other leadership positions in the country.
Deputy Director Gender and Inclusivity Department at the Commission Mrs. Chika Osuji stated this Saturday, in Abuja during a Community Stakeholders Workshop organised by WAVE Foundation on the theme; “Ending GBV, Civic Rights and Nation Building”.
Osuji noted that women have what it takes to make an informed choice and know who to support during election, she however expressed concerns on the low participation of women in the ongoing voters registration process by the INEC.
“Women have always been at the background in the electoral process even though we make the highest number in Nigeria’s population.
“We are not competing with men but the women should be given chance to contribute and be part of the electoral process. It is important for women to be aware of the political involvement in the elections,” she stressed.
She urged everyone especially women to ensure they are registered so they can make their choices, calling on the men to also encourage women to get registered and vote during elections.
“You have to first register for your permanent voter card to vote. The men should encourage women to register, collect their PVC and vote during elections.
“When a man is representing women in issues concerning women, it won’t be as good as a women representing the issues of women because it is only the woman that will know the needs and peculiarities of women.
The Deputy Director maintained that the importance of women in national building cannot be overemphasized, noting their population, she assured that if they can get their Personal Voters Card (PVC) and turn out during election, they can go a long way.
Also speaking, the Councilor Wuse Ward at the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Mathias Aliu, said women have a strong say in choosing who becomes the leader given their population, urging men to give women the opportunity to participate as well as compete favourably during elections.
“Women have a lot of strength because women are usually more than the men when it comes to voting. They have a strong say on who becomes the leader.
As a councilor, I support any program that concerns women and as a lawmaker, any time we have a case on violence, we make sure to follow up such cases to protect people against such violence.
“The men should respect the rights of women. Women are our wives, sisters and mothers. Women should also know their rights. Any time you see your rights are being trampled upon, it’s important to report to the relevant authorities,” he urged.
Woman leader representing Mpape, Amac and Bwari Aisha Saidu, appealed to men to allow women to exercise their civic rights as they also wish to contribute to nation building.
“It is not that women do not want to vote but it’s because of the men. They say the religion does not allow it. We call on Muslim men particularly to allow their wives to vote and participate in the society”.
Earlier, President WAVE Foundation Arc. Lola Ibrahim, said the workshop was organised to sensitize grassroots women on their rights especially as regards Gender Based Violence GBV and the importance of active political participation.