Being the text of a press release by Centre for 21st Century Issues in celebration of the 2015 International Women’s Day
Centre for 21st Century Issues Nigeria celebrates with women all over the world and in particular, Nigerian women on the occasion of the International women’s day (IWD) 2015.
The 2015 IWD is of particular importance to Nigerian women as it is coming at a time when Nigeria is preparing for what many has described as the most hotly contested election in the history of Nigeria.
Nigerian women are not unaware of the events that have led to the recent postponement of the 2015 general elections. The unprecedented violence which have trailed the build up to the elections, the low representation of women candidates contesting the elections, less commitment to gender equality issues by candidates and parties contesting elections; and the grave impacts of the Boko Haram insurgency which have disproportionately affected Nigerian women and children.
Nigerian women are deeply disturbed by the call for further postponement of the elections, the removal of the INEC chairman and imposition of an illegal interim government on Nigerians by anti-democracy tendencies in the land. Noting that any attempt to heed this call is capable of jeopardizing the electoral process and may foist constitutional crisis on the nation thus overheating the already tensed political atmosphere.
We are continuously saddened about the Boko haram insurgency and the inability of the federal government to bring back the chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram since April 2014.
Nigerian women therefore call on the federal government to;
- As a matter of urgency step up efforts to bring back the Chibok girls
- Ensure may 29th Handover date is sacrosanct
- Shun any call for interim government and tenure elongation
- Resist the attempt to remove the INEC chairman before the expiration of his tenure.
Calls on Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to;
- Resist any attempt to shift elections dates and ensure that free fair, peaceful and credible elections happen in Nigeria come May 28th and April 11th 2015
- Ensure that all Permanent Voters card (PVC) are ready for collection well ahead of the election dates
- Proceed with the use of the smart card readers to reduce electoral irregularities and rigging.
Calls on Political parties and their candidates to;
- Make commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment in their electoral campaigns
- Respect the tenets of democracy and shun violence and all appearances of violence before, during and after election.
- Stick to issue based campaign.
Calls on Nigerians to;
- Conduct themselves peacefully before during and after elections
- Go out on election days to exercise their inalienable rights to vote for the candidates of their choice
- Vote for candidates that demonstrate commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
- Vote for candidates that Commit to 35% affirmative action in appointive positions.
- Shun money politics
As Nigerian women, we will continue to demand for greater accountability to gender equality and women’s empowerment. We know that there cannot be a haven for women if the political process is intentionally disrupted by the actions or inactions of anti-democratic tendencies, rather women and children stand to suffer the more if the electoral process is truncated. Let us therefore strive to make Nigeria a haven for women by voting for peace, gender equality, free, fair and credible elections.
Happy International women’s day! Longl live Nigeria! God bless women worldwide!
Ms Titilope Akosa
Executive Director ,
Centre for 21st Century Issues
6 Balogun street, Ikeja , Lagos