The project lead of the “Get Out Your Vote Campaign/Violence Against Women In Politics and election”, has accused Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of not publishing the total number of registered female voters in the country in 2019 as against the 2015 election.
Ms Yingi who made this statement while addressing participants in a stakeholders town hall meeting organized by the National Orientation Agency in Port Harcourt, with the topic ” Freedom of Information”; alleged that INEC did not release the complete data/numbers of female registered voters for this year’s election.
According to her: “Unlike the 2015 election, we had about five million women registered to vote against two million men registered to vote. Fortunately, INEC released a sex desegregated data. What I noticed in the data was that we had men on one end, women on one end and then we had the youths. The youths were not desegregated and as such, today we don’t know how many women are registered as voters and we know that women have very strong numerical strength”.
Continuing, Ms Yingi said, “Considering the topic of the meeting, Freedom of Information, Nigerian women need to know how they influence the election. We need to understand how many we are in number(registered voters), so when we are talking to ourselves and encouraging ourselves, we know that we can make the right political choice by using our numbers the right way”.
Ms Yingi said the campaign, Violence Against Women in Politics is being facilitated in partnership with the Rivers State Ministry of Women Affairs, the state command of the Nigerian Police, State National Orientation Agency and the media.
“We have town hall meetings where we meet and sensitize women in various LGAs in the state to ensure that women participate fully in this year’s general election. The truth is that one woman’s vote, as well as one man’s vote, can change the outcome of this election. We want more women in Rivers State to come out and vote and we want them to feel confident in the electoral system.
The project lead said the campaign is organized in the state to curb violence against women in politics and during election and to also increase women political participation by increasing their civic education, voters education and also to understand that violence during election can prevent women from voting as the credibility of the process will not be as strong as it is supposed to be. “It means that the spaces the women should be voting for might be the space that would be rigged that election day”.
“Women are part of the society, and it is their civic right to vote and be voted for, political violence against women should no longer be condoned in a civil society like ours, so I use this medium to urge all Rivers peoples to shun violence so as to ensure that both women, men and youths come out en mass to exercise their civic duties”.
Ms. Yingi said that women who feel threatened or violated should call the hotline of Violence Against Women in Politics (VAWIP) number 08001100000, for immediate help.