By Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu
Awka, Jan. 22, 2021 A group, called Strategies to Achieve Gender Equality for Women, says it will soon embark on economic empowerment for women to reduce vote buying and selling during elections.
Prof. Mercy Anagbogu, the Chairperson of the non-governmental organisation, made the disclosure on Friday during a virtual inauguration of the National Executive Council of the group, monitored in Awka.
She described vote buying and selling as the sharing of cash, food and valuable items among the electorate by politicians and parties during elections.
According to her, a majority of the electorate who sell their votes are women and they have blamed economic hardship for indulging in the act.
Anagbogu said there was need to stop the act of vote buying and selling, saying it would continue to rob Nigerians of genuine and quality representation.
She said the ugly trend also posed great danger to the nation’s electoral process and democracy.
“This is why our group will start economic empowerment of women, especially the women at the grassroots, who are the major electorate, to support their financial independence.
“Women’s economic empowerment is central to realising women’s rights and gender equality. “Women’s economic empowerment includes women’s ability to participate equally in every sphere of life, including politics.
“As we approach the next general elections in 2023, this is part of our strategies to encourage more women participation and women contestants at every level of elective position,” she said.
Also, the Vice Chairperson of the group, Mrs Adenike Shobajo, said there was need to embark on political awareness programme to educate women on their role in politics and governance.
“As we approach 2023, our women need to be aware about voter registration, the need to be registered in a political party to be able to aspire and contest for elective positions.
“When more women are aware, we will begin to have adequate representation of women in government,” Shobajo said.
A member of the council, Dr Eris Jewo-Ibi, said there was need for frequent voter education across states to mobilise the electorate, especially women in rural communities, to be able to make informed decisions and participate actively in the electoral process.
Another member of the council, Dr Dumebi Owa, said: “When a woman is empowered with information and needed skills, she is encouraged to imagine the possibility of a better life, future and governance.
“We need to hit the ground running ahead of the 2023 general elections,” Owa said.