By Justina Auta
The Gender and Election Watch Room (GEW) of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) has called on political parties to prioritise and enhance women’s involvement in politics.
Ms. Brenda Anugwom, the CEO of GEW at NWTF, conveyed this message in a post-election statement and aftermath of the off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi in Abuja.
The organisation, with 50 accredited observers deployed across the eight Local Government Areas of Bayelsa, closely examined the elections from a gender perspective.
Despite the peaceful and timely conduct of the polls, Anugwom highlighted a noticeable low turnout among both male and female voters.
She expressed concern over voters’ reluctance to participate, citing a lack of trust in the system and fears for their safety as contributing factors.
Anugwom emphasised the need for stakeholders to educate the public on the importance of increased female participation in the electoral process.
The CEO strongly condemned any intimidation of election observers, stressing that such actions contradict democratic principles and should cease immediately.
“Political Parties should create an enabling environment for increased female participation, and women should build capacity and aspire to participate in politics.
“Nigeria cannot achieve inclusive democracy without female participation.
“The intimidation of any observer in an election is not consistent with democratic values and should henceforth stop,” she said.
In addition, she recommended that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) invoke the new electoral law to address issues related to vote buying and selling.
Anugwom called for the apprehension and prosecution of offenders to strengthen the electoral system.
Furthermore, Anugwom called on security agencies to play a crucial role in maintaining peace, remaining neutral, and safeguarding the lives of Nigerians during any election process.
The NWTF’s Gender and Election Watch Room continues to advocate for a more inclusive and equitable political landscape in Nigeria. (NAN)
Edited by Kadiri Abdulrahman/Ali Baba-Inuwa