INDEPENDENT National Electoral Commission (INEC) and stakeholders have urged women to be committed to 2023 elections.
The stakeholders said Nigeria has qualified women that can win election, adding that they will be given opportunity to contest positions.
Speaking at the Women Aspirants Summit 2022 in Abuja yesterday, INEC’s Director of Gender and Inclusive Department Mrs Blessing Obidegwu said INEC would operate within create a level-playing field for stakeholders, especially women, to participate in the electoral space.
Obidegwu, represented by Habibat Abdulkareem Jato, noted that the commission as a gender responsive government institution, would support actions and advocacy to enhance the electoral system.
She said: “This is hinged on our belief that stakeholders’ collective actions will help tackle issues of monetisation of the electoral process, bribery, vote buying and selling, tracking of campaign finances and inadequate provisions to encourage greater participation of marginalised groups…in the promotion of a more inclusive process for sustainable democracy in Nigeria”.
Chief Executive Officer of Women Radio Adetoun Okewale, noting that the participation of women is fundamental to development of democracy, said Nigeria has a low representation of women in politics.
Okewale, one of the organisers of the summit, regretted the country has not had an elected female governor, vice president nor president.
She said: “We need to put our sentiments aside and commit to winning elections, to vote for women, campaign for women and fund the women.
“The full participation of women is fundamental to development of our democracy”.
Speaking on the gender bill, President of Women in Politics Forum Ebere Ifendu said there is need to follow up with the bill at the National Assembly.
“We need to follow up on the gender bill because if we have it in the constitution that says every political party must have a minimum of 35 per cent in their constitution, no party will go against it because we know that the constitution will be there to protect it.
“We are ready to take over and we are not going to allow 2023 come and go without us occupying seats, we are ready to mobilise and vote for women contesting”, she added.
Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Women Trust Fund Mufuliat Fijabi urged women aspirants to take the process of electioneering serious.
“Nigerian women have come a long way and we cannot afford to stop or be exhausted until we get to where we are recognised, acknowledged and supported”.
At the summit with the theme: “Women Working Together for a Democratic Nigeria”, present were 41 women aspirants vying for president, governor, Senate, House of Representatives, House of Assembly and local government chairman.