By Ayobami Agboola, Osogbo
A non governmental Organization, Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI), has commended the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the creation of the Department of Gender and Inclusivity.
CityMirrorNews reports that Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI), is the secretariat of the Supporting Advancement of Gender Equality (SAGE) project.
CityMirrorNews recalls that INEC had recently announced the re-organization and creation of additional departments in preparation for upcoming off-cycle Governorship elections and the 2023 general election which Voter Education and Publicity Department (VEP); and Gender and Inclusivity Department (GID) in place of the defunct VEP are inclusive.
Reacting, Kimpact Development Initiative in a statement singed by its Executive Director, Mr Bukola Idowu described the creation of the departments as a welcome development.
According to Kimpact, the creation of this department shows the commitment of INEC to the advancement of gender equality and mainstreaming.
The group further stated that the decision of INEC shows the disposition of the Commission to gender equality and its readiness to proffer solutions to challenges women face in the course of the electoral process in Nigeria.
It however called on the commission to adequately fund the newly established departments in order to achieve the setting goals and objectives.
“On April, 22nd 2021, INEC announced the re-organization and creation of additional departments in preparation for upcoming off-cycle Governorship elections and the 2023 general election. INEC de-established two (2) of its existing departments – Department of Legal Services, Clearance, and Complaints (LSC&CC) and, Voter Education and Publicity Department (VEP).
“The Commission created the Department of Litigation and Prosecution (DL&P) and the Department of Legal Drafting and Clearance (LDCD) from the de-established LSC&CC.
“Furthermore, the Commission established Voter Education and Publicity Department (VEP); and Gender and Inclusivity Department (GID) in place of the defunct VEP.
“Dedicating a department to gender and inclusivity is a welcome idea. Women have long been on the receiving end of marginalization due to the patriarchal nature of our society, and the electoral systems and processes are not excluded.
“The high rate of electoral violence before, during, and after elections has further created a new form of marginalization for the female gender and persons with disabilities. Violence against women in elections is one of the significant reasons the female gender stay away from polls, resulting in low women’s political representation. Remarkably, few women have withstood the abuse, hate speech, and physical violence that permeates the electoral scene.
“With the creation of the Gender and Inclusivity Department, SAGE is reassured that INEC is committed to supporting gender equality. All issues that affect the participation of women in elections would be handled with professional astuteness.
“However, to achieve this, we are calling on the INEC leadership and the National Assembly to adequately fund the new department. The creation of the Department of Litigation and Prosecution (DL&P) is another pointer that INEC is ready to deal with electoral offenders with precision, thereby eradicating or at the least, reducing the impunity with which electoral offences are committed. We expect more diligent prosecution of electoral offences to serve as a deterrent. Once again, KDI congratulates and commends the efforts of INEC.
Speaking on the important of SAGE, the group said that the Supporting Advancement of Gender Equality (SAGE) is an advocacy program that seeks to remove the barriers hampering the political participation and representation of women.
“SAGE aims to achieve this by advocating for reforms of Nigerian laws and political parties’ constitutions, procedures, and policies. The program seeks to work with key political leaders to build significant support for women’s meaningful participation in politics.
“SAGE has several support structures, including the International Working Group (IWG), National Working Group (NWG), Political Party Advisory Group (PPAG), and four (4) Civil society Coalition partners. SAGE is supported by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
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