By Gabriel Atumeyi
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has decried the disinterest of women in Enugu State in collecting their Permanent Voters Cards ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Enugu State, Dr Emeka Ononamadu made the observation on yesterday during the voter pre-election dialogue tagged “Towards credible 2019 elections”.
The event was organized by South Sahara Social Development Organization (SSSDO) in conjunction with the INEC and the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
Ononamdu noted that in previous voters’ registration, women registered more than men in the state and wondered what went wrong.
According to him, between April 2017 and November 2018, we had 84,150 men that had come for their PVCs as against 78,339 women that collected their voters’ cards.
“The uncollected PVCs we have for women are more than that of men,’’ he noted.
He called for active participation of women in the electoral process by voting in 2019 adding that they must not disenfranchise themselves during elections because their vote was their right as no duty or responsibility was bigger than their vote.
The REC said that they could only achieve credible election, when 80 per cent of women come out and vote.
The INEC boss reiterated the determination of the commission to conduct peaceful and credible election in 2019 and solicited for the support and cooperation of the electorate especially women in achieving the objective.
In his remarks, the director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Enugu State, Mr Isaac Onukwube charged women to use their votes to elect credible leaders that would deliver good governance in Nigeria.
Onukwube, who described women as catalysts for change in the electoral process, cautioned them against receiving money and gifts from politicians who could not deliver dividends of democracy to the people.
“Only the women can make active change in Nigeria because we have greater percentage of women participation during election so you must vote for credible and visionary leader that would transform the state and country.
“Women need to get to the forefront of electoral process and should desist from being at the background because women suffer most when we have bad governance.
“They shall not collect money or gift from politicians but vote base on their conscience for leaders that will transform the country.
“We must all join hands together to make good choices and decisions in 2019 because it is only when we participate and get involved that we will enjoy good governance,” he said
The NOA Director also urged women to educate their children against involving in political violence to avoid being arrested or even killed in the process.
He explained that if such incident happened, the women would suffer the loss adding that their children must not be allowed to involve in political thuggery.
Also speaking, the Executive Director of SSDO, Nkechinyere Igwe said the aim of the meeting was to improve knowledge of women’s rights and responsibility especially as it pertained to elections and voting process.
“Free, fair and credible election is one of the prerequisites of democratic governance.
“The legitimacy of democratic government is established in large measure by genuine elections, which is far more than what happens on the day of election.
According to her, women constitute the largest number of people that vote during election but unfortunately they dance during campaign rally, carry mobile bill boards for most of their politicians by wearing their uniforms.
“Yet, very few women occupy political positions. This entails that women are much more interested in the material benefits and not really on the caliber of person that occupies the position as long as he has gifts to offer.
“We are looking towards credible 2019 election in Enugu State, what informs your choice of candidate? Let us all remember that if you sell your vote, you scatter your life and mortgage the future of generations unborn.
“So vote for candidates who have plans for the future of our country and not the ones that have big money to offer just to get your vote,” she warned.