ELECTION 2023: Rivers INEC Sensitize Women Against Selling Their Votes

– By Precious Ahiakwo-Ovie

Ahead of the forth-coming general elections, the Rivers state Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cautioned Women against vote buying and selling during the 2023 general election.

The Head, Gender Relations, INEC Rivers State, Beauty Ibiama made the call during a town hall sensitization meeting with women groups and gender-focused civil society organizations (CSOs) in Port Harcourt.

She explained that the commission, in response to the National Gender Policy and other regional instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory, in 2014 developed its gender policy to ensure that the gender gap in the electoral process was bridged.

The Head, Gender Relations, INEC Rivers State, Beauty Ibiama, shortly after another section of meeting with People Living with Disabilities PWD, in Rivers State, explained to the gathering that the commission is ensuring the PWD are carried along and given special care during the election process. She said the commission is providing aids training them on how to use the aids, which includes magnifying glasses for the partially blind and others. 

On her part, the Executive Director, Arise For Gender and Livelihood Initiative ALIVE, Debby Effiong said it is sad some women are given third party roles to play in politics.

She decried the underrepresentation and marginalization of women saying that it was time for women to change the ugly narrative.

“It is sad that women have been wrongly sensitized that the only way to be in politics is to beby the sideline and be cheering the men. Women have been wrongly sensitized to wear uniforms, act as welfare officers and share meat-pies and water. Till today we are still struggling: we don’t have women heading political parties or secretaries of political parties. Women who managed to come out as Presidential candidates don’t believe that they can win. Some women have sold out their rights/roles because of money. A whole needs to be done in terms of sensitization,” she said.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, Rivers State Chapter, Susan Serekara-Nwikhana said NAWOJ will continue to be at the fore-front of supporting and encouraging women to boldly participate in politics.

She said,“we have been on different media platforms organizing programs to encourage women to participate in healthy politics, and we will not relent in this efforts. We urge to come out during the forth-coming election and vote wisely and desist from selling their votes for measly fee.”

Our correspondent reports that the National Orientation Agency, NAWOJ and over fifteen women groups and civil organizations participated in the town hall meeting organized by INEC.

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