The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has reiterated the need for an all-inclusive and gender balance political space to encourage women participation in the electoral process.
Mahmood made the call yesterday when he received the United Nations (UN) Women Country Representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, at his office in Abuja.
He noted that the Commission, in collaboration with gender-based organisations, such as the UN Women, had been taking steps to encourage political parties to increase women participation during electoral contests, noting with delight that the Commission’s consultations with parties has been yielding positive results.
Speaking on the INEC Gender Policy launched in 2015, Yakubu, said: “We are committed to ensuring that we deepen its implementation as we move towards the 2019 general elections.”
As part of the Commission’s efforts to ensure an all-inclusive participation in the elections, Yakubu hinted that the Commission, in collaboration with UN Women and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), would be developing strategies aimed at making the number of women count in the elections.
“It is beyond engaging with the political parties; we also need to engage with CSOs in that respect,” he said.Earlier, Ms. Lamptey, who recently assumed office in Nigeria, noted that the UN Women and INEC had been working towards increasing women’s participation in the electoral process, noting that there was room for improvement.
She pointed out that Nigerian women have the least representation in parliaments across Africa, a situation she said needed to be addressed, especially as Nigeria is regarded as a leader in Africa.
She pledged the support of her organisation in the implementation of the INEC Gender Policy, as well as collaboration towards gender mainstreaming in the electoral process in Nigeria.