Wife of Ekiti State Governor Erelu Bisi Fayemi has urged Nigerian women to discourage their husbands and children from engaging in electoral violence during the forthcoming general elections.
Erelu Fayemi made the remarks at the Forum of Women Leaders across public and private sectors held in Abuja on Thursday to promote advocacy for the involvement of women for a peaceful election in the country. The forum is an initiative of UN Women, Nigeria and the African Union.
The Ekit first lady said women can play very significant roles in politics and government by registering as voters, participating in the voting exercise and discouraging their husbands and children from engaging in electoral violence.
According to a statement by her Special Assistant on Media, Funmi Ajala, Erelu Fayemi said the success of the coming elections in the country depended largely on how effective Nigerian women mobilise and work towards peaceful conduct of the polls.
This, she said, is achievable if every woman would discourage her husband and children from engaging in violence acts in addition to active participation in the registration process and the actual voting.
Erelu Fayemi also cautioned on the use of social media in spreading falsehood, adding that emphasis should be placed on the positive aspect of the social media technology at the expense of the negative trend of using it to create crisis through fake news.
“Let us go easy on what we do or what we say on social media. It’s something that is extremely powerful and we are very grateful for the advantages these technologies have avail us in terms of coalition building, mobilisation and creating awareness. If care is not taken it can also be a tool that can cause wars. So, please, be careful about what you disseminate, about what you post on social media, and how quick we are to forward messages we receive on WhatsApp.”
She hinted that the African Women’s Leadership Network (AWLN), a Pan-African network which brings together women leaders across the African continent, would soon be launched in Nigeria after its debut in New York, United States of America, and five other African countries.
“We will be prioritizing Inter-generational organisations and encourage the young women to go into leadership positions for us to continue to support them with mentoring, guidance and capacity building. This is because the young ones bring different perspective and energies on leadership, and we all have the roles that we can play,” Fayemi added.
Also speaking at the meeting, the UN Women Country Representative, Ms.Comfort Lamptey said “Peaceful Elections devoid of all forms of violence, can only happen when citizens fully understand how it impacts our progress as individuals, citizens and as a nation, adding that “Women need active role in elections. We need women’s full participation not only as voters but also in increasing women in leadership positions as well as in peace committees.”
Among the dignitaries present were Senator Abiodun Olujimi, Dr Remi Ajibewa of the ECOWAS Commission, Wife of Katsina State Governor, Dr Hadiza Aminu Masari, Mr Edward Kallon, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria amongst other leaders at the event.
The African women leader network is a regional platform that will enable women leaders engage in high level advocacy with institutions within the region at the national and international level. The function of the network is to serve as a diverse forum for high level advocacy for women of the African continent and a space to bring women leaders together, whether in public, private or Civil Society sector and to support one another through capacity building, mentoring, and mutual support initiatives.