Barely 30 days to the 2015 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has reiterated its commitment towards increasing women’s participation in the electoral process.
Chairman of the Commission, Attahiru Jega, gave the assurance when a coalition of women, under the umbrella of Women’s Platform for Peaceful Elections, paid a courtesy call to the Commission in Abuja yesterday.
The INEC Chairman, who was represented by National Commissioner, Nne Gladys Nwafor, said: “since inception, the Commission has been particularly concerned with increasing women participation in the electoral process”.
He added “we have been engaging religious leaders, traditional rulers and other relevant stakeholders through meetings and advocacy visits to encourage women to come out en-masse to participate in the political process.”
On electoral violence, he observed that since 2011, there has been a decline in the rate of cases due to collaborations with security agencies and also increasing awareness created by INEC and stakeholders in the electoral process.
He pledged the Commission’s support to activities of the organisation, saying: “it is a welcome development which will add value and ensure that elections are free, fair and credible”.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation and president of the Women for Peaceful Elections, Joy Onyesoh, had explained that the organisation’s mandate was to “ensure full participation of women in the electoral process to ensure peace and stability in Nigeria through consultations, advocacy visits and capacity building.”
She informed the Commission of the organisation’s intention to mobilise women across the six geo-political zones, and have observations in ten states of: Imo, Kaduna, Anambra, Enugu, Gombe, Plateau, Rivers, Benue, Lagos and FCT.
Onyesoh, while commending INEC for the launch of the Gender Policy, urged the commission to ensure “concrete implementation of the policy”, to achieve the desired aim.