DAILY FILE – A Kaduna-based Non-Governmental Organisation, Women and Youth Awareness Empowerment Network (WOYAEN), has sensitised 20 women groups and gender-focused Civil Society Organisations on electoral guidelines to ensure full and effective participation of women.
The Executive Director of the NGO, Dr Rakiya Shonekan, said at the opening of the sensitisation in Kaduna that the goal was to enlighten women on proper voting to check against void votes.
Shonekan also said that the sensitisation, organised in collaboration with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was also designed to enlighten women on proper conduct during the election.
She pointed out that women constitute the majority of voters during elections, adding however, that the larger percentage of invalid votes during election comes from the women.
She added that the sensitisation became paramount to ensure that women not come out massively to vote, but that they vote rightly so that their vote would count.
She also stressed the need to mobile families against vote buying and selling as well as electoral violence which in most times leaves women and children at the receiving end.
According to her, the only way to ensure full and effective participation of women and their families in the election is to continue to sensitise women on the need to participate and how to do it right.
“A huge number of women particularly those in rural areas do not know how to vote. They often thumb print in the wrong places, thereby wasting their vote, their precious time and strength.
“We want them to get it right this time by sensitising them against invalid votes and educating them to caution their children against electoral violence.
“We also want to encourage them to come out massively to vote the candidate of their choice and participate fully in deciding who should lead them to the land of their dreams.
“Women have a voice; their voice could be heard when they vote wisely and rightly.
“I strongly believed that if women groups and gender-focused CSOs are sensitised, they would carry the messages to their communities, their households and mobilise every woman to vote right.”
Also speaking, Gender Desk Officer, INEC Kaduna, Rukayya Imam, commended WOYAEN for organising the event, stressing that the effort would spur women to fully participate in the electoral process.
“We want this election to be peaceful, free and fair, but we cannot achieve that without ensuring that every eligible voter performs his or her civic right to vote in line with the electoral laws.
“Therefore, mobilising and sensitising women would go along way in promoting peaceful election and putting our youths on check against all forms of electoral violence,” Imam said.
Similarly, Mrs Asma Murza of National Council of Women Societies, equally noted the key role of women in ensuring violence-free elections by cautioning their children against violence.
Murza also called on women to take their time before voting to ensure that they vote rightly so that their efforts in electing good leaders would not be wasted.
Sani Abdulfata, INEC’s Voter Education and Publicity Officer in the state also called on electorates to play by the rule of the game and urged women to mobilise their households to come out and vote.
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