Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has called for support to enhance women’s participation in the election.
The electoral body made the call at the Garki International Market during a sensitisation visit with a theme, “Women and their participation under the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) campaign tagged #Balance4her Campaign in the 2023 General Elections.”
The programme was organised with the support of the European Union under Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) and aimed to educate women on the electoral process.
The Deputy Director in charge of the gender relations division, Victoria Eta-Messi, told market women that “voting of women into elective positions will enhance the quality of their lives in terms of healthcare, agriculture, procurement, business and access to funds, grants and loans.”
She discouraged them against vote selling and mortgaging of their conscience and future on mundane things.
The women were also urged to caution their children against being used by selfish politicians.
“Vote for people who will not forget you when they win the next elections. This is for the sake of your children and the children of your children.
“With the voting of women in elective positions, women can determine the quality of their lives and this will affect healthcare, agriculture and businesses. It’s the votes of women that will determine who will lead the country after the elections”, she stated.
In her speech, the Chief Executive Officer, of Nigeria Women Trust Fund (NWTF), Mufuliat Fijabo, stated that Nigeria desperately needs women in government, stressing that the nation and its political institutions cannot grow when half the population is being left behind.
Fijabi lamented that for Nigerian women, democracy is moving backwards with the dwindling number of women in governance in Nigeria.
She observed that the level of women’s involvement in Nigerian politics was still low, describing it as alarming.
“However, not voting will only worsen the situation hence the reason why we are encouraging women to actively participate in the forthcoming elections through the power of the PVC.”
She added that the fresh approach to leadership that women would bring could be the best hope for improving citizens’ quality of life and combating the deep-rooted corruption that has been linked to the nation’s leadership.
Also speaking, ElectHer Special Projects Lead, Anto Lecky, noted that the National Assembly has over 400 members, but only six per cent are women.
“That means less than 20 persons in the National Assembly are women. It doesn’t make sense. So, we are asking you amazing women with your PVC to go out on those election days and vote for the right candidates and we believe many of the right candidates are women and we know many people do not have their PVCs that doesn’t stop you from being part of the electoral process.
“You that doesn’t have your PVC must help the person that has their PVC that you are relying and counting on them to make a better Nigeria so on that same day you cannot your neighbour that wants to stay at home and watch to sell to go out and vote on Election Day,” she said.
On her part, Laolu Olawumi of EU-SDGN, cautioned the women against vote trading in the 2023 election, saying “Your vote matters. And that is why on election day if they give you the money, even if you take the money, make sure that you still vote for people that you know will have your best interests at heart.”