- Akiyode-Afolabi *
A coalition of women groups, under the auspices of Womanifesto, on Tuesday, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent to the 2022 Electoral Bill.
Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the coordinator of the groups, gave the commendation in a statement released in Abuja.
Akiyode-Afolabi said that the new Act, together with the 1999 Constitution (as amended), would constitute the principal law to govern the conduct of future elections, including the 2023 General Elections.
“We believe that by this act of the President, the Electoral Act 2022 holds a lot of potential for improving the election processes particularly, with women affirmative action and efforts to engender clarity and transparency.
“President Buhari has shown commitment to democracy as the assent to the Bill came at the right time with the 2023 General Elections underway,” she said.
She, however, reminded stakeholders, particularly political parties, to ensure strict adherence to women affirmative action as contained in the newly signed legal framework in choosing next set of leaders to various political offices come 2023.
“Though the new Electoral Act seems to bring us closer to having free, fair, and inclusive elections in which people’s vote count, it behoves on us as a people to ensure that the rightful place of women are guaranteed in the polity where women will have their say.
“For too long, the old electoral law had marginalised and limited chances of women participation in country’s political process,” she said.
Akiyode-Afolabi called on women and concerned stakeholders to make judicious use of key achievements of constitutional amendments favouring women.
According to her, this include adoption of not less than 35 per cent of the members of the executive committee at all levels to be women, among others.
“Finally, we urge all stakeholders to support INEC to achieve its regulatory role as political parties are encouraged to be more forthright and vigorous in spear-heading the campaign for women affirmative action as contained in the Electoral Act 2022 and 1999 Constitution (as amended),” she concluded.(NAN)