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Ex INEC Commissioner, ActionAid, others harp on women, youth political inclusion

A former National Commissioner, Election and Party Monitoring (EPM), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof, Antonia T. Simbine, has said the nation’s parliament needs to…

A former National Commissioner, Election and Party Monitoring (EPM), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof, Antonia T. Simbine, has said the nation’s parliament needs to be more deliberate and aggressive in pushing for gender and youth responsive policies in the country.

She said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a one-day Inter-Party Dialogue with the theme, ‘The Role of Political Parties in Achieving an Inclusive and Democratic Process: Towards Women and Youth Inclusion in the 2023 Elections’.

Simbine at the event organized by ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), Perl and Yiaga Africa also said that laws can be put in place and used by the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to sanction media (modern and traditional), that present women and youths in derogatory manner.

According to her, this will further raise and increase consciousness about youth and women’s issues and help ease many of the barriers against participation in politics and elections.

She said that while many of the qualities that promote leader emergence have to do with personality traits which are enduring behavioral qualities, there is no doubt that youths and women will benefit immensely from skills training to improve their sensitivity, consciousness, behavioral disposition and readiness to engage in meaningful interactions that will enhance their emergence into salient political positions.

“There is a need to identify successful, well-respected and charismatic female and young leaders who have strong referent power to showcase as models of successful ‘Nigerian leaders’ and not just as ‘young’ or ‘female’ leaders only,” she said.

On her part, the Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, said the event was aimed at campaigning for the inclusion of women and youths in governance processes in the country.

She said that the project is ‘Strength, Hope, Action and Progress’ for inclusive gender democratic processes and outcomes.

Obi said, “We are here to dialogue with the political parties in addressing the inclusion of women and youth participation in the political process and get their commitments.”

She added that the project which is also running in Kano and Kaduna and Sokoto and Lagos states mainly coordinated by Yiaga Africa tends to mobilize the critical minds of young people including Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and all other segments of the population that will lead to translating citizens demand into policies and actions.

Also, the National Director of Publicity, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chinwe Nnorom, commended the organizers of the project stating that talking about gender cannot be overemphasized.

“There is no way you can run a democratic society successfully without involving women and youth. We are talking about getting some level of inclusiveness in governance processes.

“PDP has elaborated strategies on how to achieve these and involving women in all government processes will yield positive outcomes,” she said.

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