Group recommends stakeholder outreach for credible, peaceful polls

 The Working Group on Women, Youth, Peace and Security in West Africa and the Sahel (WGWYPS-WAS) an NGO, says early outreach to stakeholders is germane for successes of future elections in Nigeria.

Dr Eleanor Nwadinobi, Co- Country Representative, Working Group, disclosed this during the launching of the FCT Working Group Campaign, in Abuja.

According to her, Nigeria is unique, there is our colour, culture, but in the world of peace and security it’s also unique. It is one of the counties in West Africa with two Country Representatives because of its size.

“We are here to launch the FCT campaign and the nature of the campaign is that we are able to carry out pre- election advocacy and outreach to stakeholders.

“A crucial part of our work has been monitoring; something that most of you in civil society here today do so well.

“We are also interested in post election observation, analysis and reporting,” she said

She explained the objectives for enhancing the peaceful conduct of elections.

“So there are three key objectives to enhance the peaceful conduct of elections. And I keep reminding people, we’ve just held an election but elections are cyclical.

“Some of you know that I am famous for posing the question: “When did we know that 2019 elections were coming on board? Most people four years ago.

“But we knew this from 1999, that elections will take in 2019 and yet our level of preparedness has been abysmal and we must improve on it.

“Yes we know our elections are every four years but we have some off cycle elections and elections are not limited to one event but is a process .

“The second objective is strengthening our capacity as women and young persons in the field of politics and in that field you have those who have the courage and all the will to participate.

“They are also those of us who are the electorate. There is the umpire’s umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission Commission (INEC) and then they’re those of us who want to observe and report on what is happening.

“So how can our capacities be strengthened.

Lastly knowledge improvement and sharing of information,” she said.

According to her, information is key, information is power and how do we share it in order for it to be of benefit to you and to all of us.

“But through ‘The women Youth Peace and Security Working Group for West Africa and the Sahel of the Nigerian Branch, we are working with candidates, voters and political parties.

“The operative word through the entire process, is peace,”she said.

Also, Mrs Esther Uzoma, National Coordinator, Proactive Gender Initiative, a Non-governmental organisation, said that there was need to integrate the feminine gender in governance.

According to her, it can not happen in an environment of restiveness.

“As women, we need to unite our voices, reach out to your sisters, close those gaps as there are no differences between us.

“We suffer the same things, marginalisation is a feminine thing, poverty bears a feminine face, so it is necessary to close those gaps by reaching out.

“Let us send messages to the government by speaking with one voice for the sake of posterity,” she said.

Similarly, Dr Doris Amaka, senatorial candidate for FCT 2019 Election on the platform of Africa Action Congress said she was determined to contest and did not limit herself though it was her first time.

“I did not allow the gap of contesting for the first time to limit me as I worked on, moved to villages, went to Kwali and other places to campaign,” she said.

She therefore, called on women not to limit themselves but to come out and participate in elections.

“I know that many women came out to contest the 2019 elections but lack of funds deprived them.

“We have to come out and contest for elections. As the right time to start thinking of it, is now.” (NAN)

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