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2023 polls: INEC, a women’s organization engages key stakeholders

The Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF), in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has engaged key stakeholders for effective and gender mainstreaming that will foster equality in the electoral space.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Oyo State Key Stakeholder Mobilization Meeting, held at the Owu Crown Hotel in Ibadan, was aimed at enhancing the participation of women in Nigerian politics ahead of the 2023 elections.
In his goodwill message, Mr. Abiodun Amosun, who represented the Resident Election Commissioner (REC) in Oyo, said the meeting was a pre-assessment on gender and the election monitoring programme.
Amosun said the program was timely and historic, “in the sense that the general elections are approaching, coupled with the fact that INEC has given high priority to mainstreaming gender considerations into all areas of its activities.”
He explained that the commission has started the review of its gender policy for 2021-2025, in line with the commission’s 2022-2026 strategic plan, aimed at consolidating free, fair, credible and inclusive elections in the country.
According to him, the results of the review process informed the commission’s decision to create a new department, known as Gender and Inclusion, to raise awareness of gender sensitivity and improve gender equity. .
During the pre-assessment meeting, the Administrative Secretary stated that the election monitoring program was one of the key performance indicators for pursuing and advancing gender concerns in all electoral activities.
Amosun said the rationale/modalities and how to identify intended participants for the next gender election observation program would be discussed at the meeting.
“This would be geared towards improving women’s participation; the percentage of women in politics is still very low and not too encouraging,” he said.
Regarding the objectives of the meeting, Ms. Victoria Eta-Messi, Deputy Director of Gender Relations at INEC Abuja, said, “It is basically to sensitize selected state offices of the intervention commission that the Nigerian Women Trust Fund intends to do.
“Regarding gender mainstreaming ahead of the 2023 general elections and beyond.
“With funding from the European Union, Gender Election Watch will last five years, but the main program that will be implemented as soon as possible, before the 2023 elections, is Gender and Election Watch.
“So, the first step of the program is outreach to the eight selected states, where we will sensitize key stakeholders on how to implement program activities that would ensure effective and equitable gender mainstreaming.
“We know that elections are underway in a few months and that the campaign will start soon.
“Thus, there is going to be monitoring and observation of campaign practices and processes with a gender lens from a gender perspective,” Eta-Messi explained.
She said the program would enable stakeholders to have the required information and what INEC and the NWTF plan to do to ensure increased participation of women in the 2023 electoral processes.
For her part, Program Officer, NWTF, Ruth Manu, observed that the marginalization of women in the political equation of the nation remains the central challenge of democratic governance.
According to her, some of the barriers to women’s participation in Nigerian politics are the lack of effective government action to domesticate and implement international conventions that promote women’s equal participation in political and governance processes.
“The systematic exclusion of women from leadership positions within political parties, the education system and public spheres of representation, as well as the media, provides less visibility for women in politics,” she said.
Manu further explained that the goals of the NWTF were to contribute to increased participation and greater inclusion of women in politics and to push for legislation for women and gender to reach mainstream politics.
She said the organization is engaging INEC leaders, women’s societies, the National Guidance Agency, traditional religious leaders, political party media and civil society organizations to play their respective roles. in achieving its goals.
Manu urged all participants to ensure that they carry out awareness raising and sensitization among their members.
The head of the program said that this would allow them to be better informed about the needs of women to become more involved in politics.
Participants appreciated the commitment of NWTF and INEC, promising to do more in raising awareness among the general public through their respective platforms.
NAN reports that the theme of the one-day engagement was: “Women’s Political Participation, Inclusion and the 2023 General Elections”. (NOPE)