Ahead of the 2019 general elections, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, has cautioned all stakeholders against violence during the election, noting that violence mars the integrity of elections.
Prof. Yakubu, made the pledge Monday in Benin, at a one Day National Consultation of key stakeholders on Women in Politics, to adopt work plan for gender Mainstreaming and Mitigation of Gender Based Violence during elections.
The INEC Chairman, who was represented by Mrs. Blessing Obidegwu, Deputy Director, Gender Division, INEC Headquarters, called on participants at the meeting to ensure that all violence against women in elections are addressed, just as he added that they should also proffer strategies towards mitigating them.
“The theme of today’s meeting is one that is dear to the commission as violence affects the integrity of any election.
“The commission is opened to collaboration with stakeholders to ensure that barriers that prevents women from active participating in elections are positively addressed,” he said.
Yakubu, who disclosed that INEC was collaborating with development partners, including United Nations (UN) Women, towards achieving the goals, assured Nigerians that the electoral body was committed to conducting a free, fair and inclusive election.
He however appealed Nigerians who are yet to collect their Permanent Voters’ Cards to do so, to avoid being disenfranchised during the election.
“I use this opportunity to appeal to all those who have not collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards to do so and also take the opportunity of the ongoing collection of PVCs in the local government areas, because without your Voters’ card, you will not be allowed to vote in 2019.
“If we will want to be part of that process, we must have the power now.
Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, who declared the event opened, called on women to take advantage of their numerical strength to participate in elections.
While canvassing for the setting up of a tribunal to try electoral violence and other crimes during elections, Shaibu called on INEC to be involved in voters education before elections.