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Group canvasses women political participation, wants protection of Voters

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta

Gender Perspective and Social Development Centre (GPSDC), the convener of the Stop Violence Against Women in Politics (Stop-VAWIP), has said that elimination of violence and other limiting factors would increase women participation in politics in Nigeria.

The group, therefore, called on relevant stakeholders especially in Anambra state to expedite action towards encouraging women’s active political participation, as the state prepares for its November 6 governorship election.

The GPSDC media officer, Mr. Emmanuel Ubajekwe, who stated this on Wednesday at a press briefing in Awka, the Anambra state capital, said available reports showed women tend to shy away from elections because of violence and insecurity. 

The group also called on all stakeholders, community leaders, government officials, political parties, and law enforcement agencies to put efforts together to establish measures for the protection of voters and ensure that all perpetrators of violence are apprehended and duly prosecuted to deter further occurrence.

According to the group, there is palpable fear among voters due to pre-election violence experienced across Anambra state during political party campaigns. 

“The vast number of registered women voters interviewed stated categorically that they may not participate in the electoral process due to the cases of violence either witnessed, heard, or viewed in the media.

“The spate of violence and unrest in the state may cause women to restrict their children from coming out to vote”, the group warned.

The group further regretted that some women were not well-informed enough to take up political positions, which, according to them, reduces women political participation, even as it decried that most women do not vote for other women.

It recommended that there should be a synergy between the coalition for Stop-VAWIP and the security agencies, and noted that political parties should adhere to their codes of conduct for elections by calling their supporters to order.

The group further urged Anambrarians to come out to cast their votes without fear of intimidation or abuse of voter choice, and to report cases of violence in their communities and polling units. 

“We call on the electoral umpire, INEC to be unbias and to conduct a free, fair, and credible governorship election on November 6”, it appealed.

Earlier, representatives of NDI, Mr. Abayomi Akinseye, and his counterpart in Development Centre for Orientation, Discovery and Employment (DECODE), Mrs. Cynthia Enweonwu-Arinze reiterated the need for increased women participation in politics, governance in Anambra state, and advocated for an end to violence against women.

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