The Independent National Electoral Commission has decried the poor level of participation of women in elections and the drop in the number of women who occupy elective positions in Nigeria.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu gave the indication in Abuja at the INEC Meeting on the Review of the 2019 General Elections from a Gender Perspective, organised in collaboration with the European Centre for Electoral Support.
The commission’s chief electoral umpire stressed the need to strengthen women’s political participation in the nation’s electoral process which he noted would enhance the pursuit for democracy and good governance.
He acknowledged INEC’s effort to promote gender equality in Nigeria’s electoral cycle, ‘ INEC had in 2014, adopted a gender policy aimed at improving gender responsiveness, thus urging all State and non State actors to play a prominent role to addressing gender disparity in governance.
‘Our expectation during the general election were not met due to certain criteria set up by different political parties, hence the policy should be reviewed to counter challenges in subsequent elections in the country.’
The INEC boss who was represented by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Outreach and Partnership Committee, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, Yakubu however assured that with the commission’s review of operational framework in order to tackle factors attributed to hampering women’s participation in politics, INEC is working out modalities that will serve as a roadmap in planning for future elections.
‘The idea of the commission organising reviews is to get a detailed comprehensive assessment based on personal views and experiences.’’
Earlier, in her welcome address, INEC National Commissioner Antonia Okoosi- Simbine lamented that significant efforts recorded by the Commission to support the participation of women in the electoral process did not succeed in addressing the decline of women’s representation in politics.
According to her, ‘the overall level of representation of women in politics remains a cause for concern as the number of women elected into national and state assemblies have continued to decline.
For his part, the representative of the European Center For Electoral Support (ECES) Manji Wilson, harped on the basic decision of any government, which he noted is to ensure full participation of women so as to terminate discrimination which he added may give rise to all forms of violence and extremism during election.
‘The meeting will interrogate the actions and inactions of the Commission and other stakeholders around gender issues during the elections and how to change the narrative going forward.’
In her contribution, the chairman house Committee on women affairs and social development, Hon. Adewunmi Oriyomi, highlighted factors militating against gender balance in governance, while recommending commitment to the universal protocol as regard gender issues in order to achieve the much desired result.
The review exercise seeks to analyze the 2019 General Elections especially from the Commission’s perspective and to advance the rights of women in Nigeria towards setting an agenda for 2023.