Sola Ojo, Kaduna
A forum comprised of different interest groups at the end of a 2-day meeting in Kaduna over the weekend urged the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (KAD-SIECOM) to domesticate gender policies to encourage women participation in politics.
The meeting was facilitated by Development in Practice Gender Entrepreneurship Initiative (DIP-GEI) under the Voice to the People (V2P) project in Kaduna, which was supported by Christian Aid.
The forum, which had representatives of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), KAD-SIECOM, Conference of Political Parties, Women Aspirant and Mentorship Forum and non-governmental organisations in attendance, hoped that, if affirmative gender policies of INEC could be set up in Kaduna, it would afford women, many of whom are not financially endowed, to participate in elections.
This is even as Chairman, House Committee on Information and Home Affairs, Kaduna State House of Assembly, Shehu Shadalafiya, said the House was willing to effect changes that would bring about development, security and equal opportunity for people in the state if such is communicated to the Assembly.
“It is very important for KAD-SIECOM to domesticate gender policy. This will further expose our people and allow more women to participate in politics,” he said.
“Political parties too need to do the needful by creating the opportunity, meeting their affirmation to give women the opportunity in intra-party politics even in their excos.
“This workshop is a very good step Kaduna State will benefit from, and we are happy to have taken part in it.
“We look at issues that need to come to the assembly, but civil society, KAD-SIECOM itself, women groups, political parties can initiate moves for amendments, changes or creation of new law.
“We in the Kaduna Assembly are willing at every time to do things that will bring about development, security and equal opportunity for our people,” he stressed.
Programme Manager, DIP-GEI, Stella Samuel Udobong said the meeting was organized as part of a V2P project by DFID, and implemented by DIP-GEI with 45 participants drawn from 10 political parties across the State.
V2P is a community-based project that empowers natives on how to prioritise their needs and make same known to their policymakers through a collective voice for desire changes to happen in their communities. The idea is to give voice to communities to make collective demands.
According to her, INEC, NGOs, and inter party women network were brought together to strategize on the way forward for womens’ inclusion in the 2019 General Elections.