INEC tasks women on voter registration, gender inequality in electoral system
Solicits support from political parties, others towards 2019 elections
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has charged women to register and obtain their permanent voter cards as a strategy to address gender inequality in the nation’s electoral system.
National Commissioner of INEC in South-East Zone, Prof Okechukwu Ibeanu, who spoke at a zonal workshop for women organised by the commission with support from European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) in Enugu, said global statistics for gender parity indicate that Nigeria had continued to trail behind in the human development index in gender inequality.
Ibeanu stated that in 2015, out of 188 countries, Nigeria ranked 152nd and 118th out of 192 countries in 2017 and urged stakeholders to ensure the situation improves in 2019 general elections by ensuring that more women register in the ongoing registration exercise.
“Since the ongoing voters’ registration exercise commenced on April 27, 2017, over four million Nigerians had been registered across the country. The gender distribution of fresh registrants according to the commission’s CVR report for first quarter of 2018 was 1,362,293 for women and 1,560,832 for men; and for second quarter, we had 413,450 women and 465,657 for men and still counting; hence, it has become imperative for the commission to work with other stakeholders and come up with strategies to ensure that more women are reached and encouraged to register and collect their PVCs,” he stressed.He said the commission had remained committed to promoting level-playing field for political participation of all stakeholders in the electoral process within its mandate.
The Project Director of ECES, Mr. David Le Notre, in his speech, noted that the 2016 World Bank collection development indicators gave women population in Nigeria at 49.34 per cent in 2016, stressing that democracy would lose its meaning unless women are given the opportunity to participate actively in the political process both as voters and candidates.
Le Notre, represented by a senior legal expert, Ms Maria Teresa, who noted that women participation would enrich democracy and make it more responsive to the aspirations of the people, said fewer women than men had been voted into political offices despite majority of the voters being women.
Also, Director of Voter Education Programme in INEC, Mr. Oluwole Osaze–Uzzi, said preparations were in top gear towards improving on the 2015 general elections, saying that its operations are being enhanced to aid the process.
In another development, the INEC in Anambra State has urged political parties and other stakeholders to join hands with the commission in mobilising eligible residents to participate actively in the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR), exercise.
The state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Orji Nkwachokwu, who stated this during a meeting with party chairmen and other stakeholders in Awka, yesterday, sought active participation of stakeholders, especially traditional and religious leaders, market men/women.to assist the commission in capturing eligible voters.
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