The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Uyo, on Monday, ordered INEC to allow the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Mr Nsima Ekere, to inspect all election materials used during the March 9 Governorship Election.

Despite interventions by the Independent National Electoral Commission and stakeholders, the 2019 general election “recorded the lowest number of women elected to public offices”, its Deputy Director and Head (Gender Division), Blessing Obidiegwu, said on Thursday.

She, therefore, stressed the need to “map out plans for effective participation of women in politics not only as voters and candidates but in the entire electoral process.”

Obidiegwu spoke during a programme on the review of the 2019 general election from a gender perspective, organised by INEC in collaboration with the European Centre for Electoral Support and attended by the commission’s Desk Officers from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“To strengthen women’s political participation in the electoral process which will enhance the pursuit for democracy, good governance and development, we must change the narrative,” she said.

Also speaking, INEC Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said the commission would continue to promote gender equality in the Nigerian political space.

According to him, such action was important in order to address poor participation of women in elections and the drop in the number of women who occupy elective positions.

Osaze-Uzzi said that at the level of political parties, legislature and governance, “the representation of women in Nigeria government fell short of the National Gender Policy benchmark of 35 per cent,” and other global and regional benchmarks to which Nigeria is a signatory.

He said that INEC would continue to collaborate with development partners and stakeholders to encourage and sensitise political parties to open up to changes in party politics.

The changes, he said, would enhance women participation in the electoral process as equal partners.

Osaze-Uzzi said that the implementation of the INEC Gender Policy since 2014 had continuously impacted positively and enhanced the gender responsiveness of Nigeria’s electoral process.

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