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INEC Boss Wants Legislative Action To Adress Low Participation Of Women In Elective Offices

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has expressed worry over the low level of participation of women in elective positions across the country and called for legislative action to address it.
“The Commission is aware of the concern raised by Nigerians about the low level of gender representation in elective positions nationwide. The Commission shares this concern and we have consistently been urging political parties to redress the obvious under-representation of women, youths and persons with disability by nominating more of them as candidates for elections.
“To accelerate progress in this regard, I will go as far as calling on the National Assembly to introduce affirmative action as part of the electoral reforms that will ensure greater representation of women, youths and persons with disability in elective offices nationwide.”
Professor Yakubu, who spoke today, March 8, at celebration of the International Women Day, said that in the weeks ahead, the Commission would engage with the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters on this and other areas of reform.
He said that the celebration of the International Women’s Day is an auspicious occasion and an opportunity for the INEC to practically affirm its commitment to deepening gender equality, representation, relevance, empowerment and a sense of belonging.
Saying that the main theme of this year’s celebration is: “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress” with the campaign theme as “Inspire Inclusion,” Professor Yakubu said all the ingredients in the themes has been a focal area of the Commission’s commitment, covering gender, youths and persons with disability. “For this reason, the Commission has since developed and validated its gender policy with the full support of all stakeholders. We have also been dutifully implementing the gender policy in a practical way.
“It is not by coincidence that the two successive Secretaries to the Commission are women. Furthermore, the present Commission deliberately created a whole Department of Gender and Inclusivity in 2021 dedicated to the promotion of inclusive representation in the workplace and the electoral process. Today, out of 24 Departments and Directorates at the Commission’s Headquarters, 11 (representing 46%) are headed by women. We also have women serving as Administrative Secretaries in our State offices and Heads of various Departments at State level.
“There is also no State in Nigeria without women serving as Electoral Officers (EOs) in charge of our Local Government Offices.
“In addition to Departmental and other responsibilities, the Commission has also built and equipped a Crèche for the convenience of staff of all categories who are nursing mothers. By coincidence, the Crèche will be commissioned shortly as part of the activities for this year’s International Women’s Day.
“Our intention is to extend such facility to our state offices as funds permit.”

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