By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in collaboration with European Centre for Electoral Support,Â MondayÂ urged more women to take advantage of the ongoing voterâ€™s registration and collection of permanent voter cards (PVCs).
The electoral body at a one-day South-south Stakeholderâ€™s Workshop held in Benin City, noted that the equal participation of women and men in all aspects of public life remains a key principle of democracy.
INEC Commissioner, Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, in her presentation titled: ‘Enhancing Womenâ€™s Participation in the Continuous Voters Registration Exercise and Collection of PVCâ€™s: the role of civil society organisations’, however lamented that despite the fact that â€œwomen constitutes 48% of Nigeria voting population they only occupied 5.8% of political offices in Nigeria”.
â€œGlobal statistics for gender parity indicate that in 2015 out of 188 countries, Nigeria was 152ndÂ in the human development index in gender inequality and 118 out of 192 countries.
â€œSince the exercise commenced, over four million Nigerians have been registered across the country. The gender distribution of fresh registrants according to the commissionâ€™s CVR report for 1st quarter 2018 was 1,362,293 for women and 1,560,823 for men.
“Only a very slight increase in women registration was recorded since we commenced the exercise,â€ she said.
She said that with the above statistics, a lot still need to be done by all stakeholders to ensure that the situation improves come 2019 general election, adding that the key strategies is for women to register and collect their PVCs.
The Representative, European Centre for Electoral Support, Maria Teresa Mauro, in her remarks said the Union is working with the electoral body to encourage women participation and registration in political activities even as she noted that low participation of women in politics is not peculiar to Nigeria but a global challenge.
â€œWe are in a workshop which is dedicated to women and of course you have heard from all the speakers that women are underrepresented in registration and political representation so we are facilitating INEC job in increasing the participation of women. The low level of participation is not only in Nigeria or African but also in Europe as well,” Mauro said.