Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, has charged women across the country to vote candidates that will promote their welfare and touch their lives positively.
Maina stated this in Abuja while speaking at the National Training Workshop on Voter Education for women, organised by her Ministry in partnership with UNDP managed Democratic Governance for Development (DGD).
She stressed the need for women to participate effectively in the forthcoming elections by first getting their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) urging them to vote wisely.
According to her, the present administration had in the last four years changed the fortune of women in the country and would do more if allowed.
The minister said the two-day workshop with theme ‘Making Women’s Votes Count,’ was aimed at providing a final push in support of women’s candidature and in educating the female voting population on the appropriate voting procedures during the elections.
“It is to help us focus on facilitating women’s active and effective participation in the electoral process,” Maina said while lamenting that lack of women’s participation in decision making in Nigeria is inimical to democratic progress as it ultimately denies them mass participation in governance.
She advised women to use their votes wisely and shield their children from unsavoury political consequences of thuggery and drug abuse.
“I know the pains of losing a child, especially a grown-up child; so I urge you not to allow politicians use your children for political gains. We women should stand out, expose anyone who is trying to cause confusion. I am appealing to us women to take charge and make sure that there is peace in this country.
We should expose anyone that is trying to use your children to cause confusion, we should also pray for Nigeria, pray for a peaceful conduct of 2015 elections.”
“Women should make sure they obtain their permanent voter cards and then when they obtain it, on the day of election they should vote and make sure that they vote wisely,” she stressed.
Earlier, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, said the commission had put in place the INEC Gender Policy reform to help bridge the gaps holding women from achieving full participation in electoral processes.
Represented by the INEC Commissioner, Dame Gladys Nnewanfo, he reiterated its commitments towards ensuring free, fair credible and peaceful general elections, urging all Nigerians, especially women and first-time voters, to ensure collection of their PVCs as “this serves as a prerequisite for voting.”