The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged women to stand against what it called intimidation from actions and antics of some unscrupulous politicians.
INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Enugu State, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, gave the advice in Enugu on Tuesday in a one-day seminar themed: “Mitigating Violence Against Women in Elections’’, organised by the commission.
Ononamadu urged women to live above the usual intimidation and tensions associated with elections, but stand to vote and be voted for.
“Our women must stand their grounds when some unscrupulous politicians deploy threats of violence and psychological fear to keep them out of active participation in politics,’’ he said.
Ononamadu urged women to use their numerical strength and their Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) to dictate the pace of governance, “since they have the biggest weapon.’’
He encouraged women to get registered and attend political party meetings; and also make their voice heard during the meetings.
Chief Abuon Edor, Head, Department of Voter Education and Publicity (VEP) INEC, enjoined the women to teach their male children the need to love and respect their female counterparts in the home, which would in future shape the way they regarded women in governance process.
Edor said INEC would continue to give women the opportunity to participate in electoral processes.
Mrs Edna Nnolum, Desk Officer of Gender in INEC, Enugu State, said the seminar was aimed at equipping the participants with a general understanding of the electoral process, electoral related offences and violence against women in elections.
“It is also to develop strategies for enhancing effective and non-violent electoral participation in the 2019 General Elections and to create awareness on the issue.
“To increase the participants’ awareness, understanding and application of human rights and gender based approaches in managing election-related violence in Nigeria,’’ Nnolum said.
In a paper tagged: “Understanding Gender and Electoral Violence’’, Tochi Amauchechukwu from National Orientation Agency (NOA), described electoral violence as the greatest obstacle to any nation’s development.
Amauchechukwu decried the rising spate of sexual violence and other forms of intimidation against women during elections.
She, however, called on men and all concerned authorities, to ensure that women and girls were protected during the election.