Democracy Day: ActionAid, LEADS, Urges Political Parties To Create Space for Women, Youth.
By: Femi Mustapha
As Nigerians mark the 2022 Democracy Day, The ActionAid Nigeria and Legal Awareness for Women (LAWN) has urged all political parties to create space for women and youth participation.
The Head of Programme, ActionAid Nigeria, Hajiya Suweiba Muhammed Dankwabi asserted this during a Democracy Day rally held in Kaduna on June, 11th, 2022,
Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO),
Hajiya Dankwabi said to participate fully in democracy, all groups must actively involve regardless of religion, tribe in the governance process in other to uphold the tenants of democracy.
Similarly, the Communication Officer of Legal Awareness for Women (LAWN), Mr. Femi Johnson, said there is a need for Nigerians to be involved in the democratic processes in the country.
According to him, after 22 years of the current democratic system in the Country there is still not yet a hurray.
He expressed dismay over the lukewarm attitudes exhibited by some Nigerians, especially in the aspects of voter registrations, saying they cannot get the change they desire unless they get involved.
In her remarks, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Head of Unit, Voter Education, Kaduna, Mrs. Rukaiyatu Sani Imam thanked the organizers of the programme, saying it is timely and important, looking at the 2023 general election which is near.
Mrs. Imam said INEC has put in place innovations that will make the 2023 general election more acceptable in line with global best practice.
According to her, in 2015, the commission used Smart Card Reader to identify and authenticate the Permanent voter’s cards (PVCs). The innovation is the IVED machine, which means INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVED) and is versatile with three functions.
“The first function: it is used for the continuous Voter registration, it captures the facial and the biometric, initially we capture the two thumbprints, but now it captures the ten fingerprints when you go for registration; the second function is on the election day, we have software that is going to be inserted into the IVED machine, and the software is called the BIVAS, (Biomodal Voter accreditation System), this system authenticate all PVCs on election day, in order to eliminate identity theft and multiple voting.”
“And the same IVED machine will be used to transmit result sheet after election process and this is to eliminate result sheet snatching from aggrieved politicians, so we are going to transfer this result electronically,” she said.
She commended stakeholders such as Traditional leaders, religious leader, women’s group, NGOs who have continued in their sensitization on the registration of continuous Voter’s cards.
She said Kaduna state has recorded a tremendous effort on the Online registration having the highest turnout in the Northern Nigeria and third highest on the physical capture, however, said 37.4% of the registration is marked invalid due to multiple registration.
She therefore suggested there is a need for sensitization of the citizens on the effect of double registration, while calling on the participants to pass across the dangers and implications, as many will be disenfranchised.
In her remarks, Executive Director, Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI), Babafunke Fagbemi, said the country is still regarded as one of the countries with the highest incident of poverty, unemployment is very high, nothing is behind in almost all human capital development indexes.
Fagbemi who was represented by the Kaduna state team lead, CCSI, Mallam Ibrahim Abubakar said, the recent primary election in preparation for the 2023 general election has left so much disappointment across the country as there were allegations bribery of delegates to vote, violence and intimidation.
He added that women’s participation in politics is not proportionate to the over 45% of the nation’s population, which they represent, and this has not translated into equal representation in political leadership positions.
“Over the years, women and youth have been excluded from leadership and decision-making processes in leaders. Therefore, there is a need for women and youth inclusion and participation. Women and youth inclusion and participation mean equality in the representation of Men, Women and Youth in both numbers and the levels of decision-making”.
He therefore said for emerging democracies in Nigeria to be sustainable, all groups within the population must be actively involved in governance, saying their voices need to be heard and their experience and expertise utilized for the optimal growth and development of the country.