“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence”. ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As political gladiators gear up for the gubernatorial elections today, Alliances for Africa is more concerned about the welfare of women and girls in the state especially in the seeming heightened insecurity situation and tension in Anambra and by far, the South East between the security forces and the Indigenous People of Biafra.
We implore the government to stand up to their responsibility to secure lives and property as women troop out in their numbers to exercise their constitutional right to vote for candidates of their choice in a peaceful manner and without fear or disruption of the process.
Women’s role in a democratic process is critical to broadening and deepening the Nigerian government’s commitment to democratic governance and with the half population being women, their participation has always created a balance of power during the electioneering process.
Yet societal factors including cultural or religious norms surrounding marriage and the structures that portray women as subordinate to men continue to impede women’s representation.
Even educated women face hindrances. They encounter gender stereotypes that assign leadership to men, sexual assault, child care, and housework, and other seeming challenges that place them in a disadvantaged position. Women candidates are often subjected to gender-related electoral violence, threats, and hate speech because of the perception that women want what traditionally belongs to men.
While we commend the candidates on the signing of the Peace Accord, we reiterate that they live up to expectations of their commitment to peace. We are also hopeful that the deployment of security forces to the state will not be a means to intimidate citizens into compromising the integrity of the electoral process.
As a feminist organization, AfA urges the government and law enforcement agencies to live up to their expectations of securing the lives and property of citizens especially women, and ensure there is no escalation of violence during this election.
Executive Director, Alliances for Africa.