Political parties now sensitive to gender balance —INEC boss

Professor Mamood Yakubu, INEC Chairman

The chairman of the  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor  Mahmood Yakubu, on  Tuesday, stated that the commission’s  appeals to political parties for gender balance through the involvement of women in elective and appointive positions in the parties have begun to yield fruitful  results.

Yakubu stated this on Tuesday, when he received the newly-elected executive officers of the  National Council of Women Society (NCWS) who paid him a courtesy visit at the INEC headquarters in Abuja.

According to him, one of the political parties, which he did not name, had nominated a woman as a standard-bearer and several other women  emerged running mates in the forthcoming Edo gubernatorial election.

The INEC chairman hoped that the number of women nominated for serious positions in political parties in subsequent elections would continue to rise.

He decried the low participation of women in politics, saying despite the high population of women, the 68 elections conducted in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) recently, comprising six chairmanship and 62 councillorship elections, there was no single woman in the whole contest.

According to the  INEC boss, “Democracy around the world cannot be complete without the full participation of women,” promising that INEC would continue to encourage women to participate, not only as voters, but as those to be voted for.

On the issue of violence in the nation’s politics, Yakubu  regretted that women often bore the brunt of it, especially as mothers of some of the adhoc staff who lost their lives during elections, promising that the commission would continue to work to ensure that violence was completely eschewed from the electoral system.

He also promised that women would be included as monitoring groups  for the Edo and Ondo States elections and subsequent elections in the country.

Earlier, the new president of the NCWS, Chief (Mrs) Gloria Laraba Shoda, had listed violence as one of the factors which was militating  against the participation of women in politics, calling  for the eradication of the scourge to enhance women’s involvement in politics.