The Independent National Electoral Commission has expressed concern over the low participation of young females in the electoral process of Nigeria.
The Deputy Director, Gender Division, INEC, Mrs Blessing Obidiegwu, stated this on Thursday during the sensitisation forum for young female voters towards the governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The forum was jointly organised in Yenagoa by INEC and the European Union through the European Centre for Electoral Support and the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria.
Obidiegwu said, “Analysis of participants in our previous elections shows that not many young females take active part in the electoral process as voters, candidates, observers or election administrators.
“This group deserves the opportunity to bring their perspective to bear and make their impact felt by getting actively involved in various electoral roles of their choice as a way of deepening our democracy and making it more inclusive.”
In his address, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC, Mr. Festus Okoye, said young females were part of the estimated 48% of the country’s female population.
Okoye, who was represented by INEC’s Administrative Secretary in Bayelsa State, Mr Edwin Enabor, said the commission, in collaboration with stakeholders in the electoral process, had “designed ways to reach this group of women who are still young with great energy.”
He added, “The commission is interested in engaging them in active politics to enrich our electoral system. This has become imperative considering the sharp decrease in the number of women who won elective positions in 2019 general elections.”
Also speaking, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Monday Udoh, noted that the place of women, especially young females, in the electoral process could not be over-emphasised.
Meanwhile, some activists, including the convener of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, have calledon the Nigerian Army to desist from deploying troops in the Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections on November 16.
The activists, including the convener of Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, Ariyo-Dare Atoye; and the convener, Free Nigeria Movement, Adebayo Raphael, said this in a letter addressed to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Thursday.