The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that more men voted than women in the 2015 General Elections contrary to wide held view that women outnumbered men in the elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this in Abuja on Tuesday at the 2019 General Elections Women Aspirants Summit, themed: “Working Together for 2019”, organised by the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF), in collaboration with Women Radio 91.7 FM and Women in Politics Forum (WIPF).
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According to Prof. Yakubu, who was represented by the Head, Gender Division of INEC, Mrs. Blessing Obidegwu, it is important for more women to actively participate in electoral activities especially contesting elective positions and actual voting.
“This has become imperative considering the marked decrease in the number of women who won elective positions since 2007, with 11 percent in 2007, seven percent in 2011 and 5.6 percent in 2015.
“Again, not only that women are not winning elections, available data in the commission show that in 2015 General Elections, only 44 percent of female voters were accredited to vote compared to 56 percent male voters. This is contrary to previously wide held view that more women came out to vote,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of NWTF, Mrs. Mufuliat Fijabi, said the summit is a mark of solidarity to show that Nigerian women, if given equal level playing field with men, can excel and contribute immensely to the advancement of democratic governance in Nigeria.
She said this will stimulate a deliberate ‘WomanAgenda’ to ensure greater representation and participation of women at all levels of governance in 2019 elections and beyond.
She expressed hope that more women would be represented in elective offices in 2019 as Nigeria could no longer boast to be the giant of Africa with low women representation in politics and governance.
On her part, President of WIPF, Mrs. Ebere Ifendu, urged men to canvass votes for women, saying that women have always been supporting men’s political ambitions and that 2019 was the turn of women, hence the need for men to support them.
Also, the Managing Director of Women Radio, Mrs. Toun Okewale-Sonaiya, said that there are currently 15 female world leaders and that Nigeria should have been among them.
On his part, the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Lehmann, said Australia remained a major supporter of women as the country was among the top 10 donors to UN Women.
He pledged continued support of the Australian Government to the ambitions of Nigerian women aspirants to fulfil their dreams in the political sphere ahead of the 2019 elections.
In her remark, the Country Representative of UN Women, Ms Comfort Lamtey, said all the women aspirants were winners and that they must however run for elective political offices with a purpose and not just because they were women.