INEC Seeks More Women In Politics

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Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday embarked on a sensitization campaign to attract more women into mainstream politics, an official said in Abuja

Mrs. Margret Ikwunja-Ejeh, Director in charge of Gender, INEC, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that as 2015 drew nearer, there was urgent need for women to put an end to their partial representation in the various elective offices.

She said women could take their rightful position in the administration of this country only through active participation in politics and ensuring that they occupied more than 35 percent elective posts in 2015.

She said the campaign include training, workshop, counselling, voter education and advocacy.

Ikwunja-Ejeh said that more than 2000 NGO’s, women professionals, religious bodies and party members were being trained to train others.

The director stated that the traditional rulers support had also been enlisted.

She said that had become imperative because the social, cultural and religious attitudes of different Nigerian societies most often relegated women to the background.

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“In northern part of the country, for instance, purdah system is one of the major factors inhibiting women’s participation in politics.

“The fight for women liberation cannot be fought by women alone, there is need for gender balance from the men by lending their voice.

She said the low level of education of women constituted a large percentage of the illiterate group in Nigeria and financial incapability.

“It has become very important that women also have equal participation in politics, regardless of gender barrier or financial status.

Ikwunja-Ejeh said INEC was looking into all the associated problems with the hope of finding a lasting solutions to them for “Women to participate full in Nigeria politics.”

She noted that the worst election since 1999 was perhaps the outcome of the 2011 general elections.

Ikwunja-Ejeh said only 40 percent of the women voted in the election with only 16 percent candidates for elective posts, while only 7.2 percent won compared to 2007 when many women won election to the National Assembly.

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