With just a few days to the much anticipated 2023 general elections, women from both the Christian and Muslim religions under the aegis of the Women Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria and Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations of Nigeria have commenced sensitisation for women in a bid to mobilise and prepare them on their expected roles in the elections.
Both religious groups say the exercise was in furtherance of their belief that women are critical stakeholders in election and governance and can consequently, no longer sit on the fence or be detached from the process of selecting leaders to direct the affairs of the nation.
The national chairperson of WOWICAN, Mrs. Bolanle Ihesiulor, at a town hall meeting in Abuja said they have all done a lot of sensitization and orientation work in such a short time. But they have also extended their reach to even more difficult areas and expected results were achieved.
She said, “It’s believed that if you want something said, engage a man, but if you want something done, look for a woman. We worked and are still working in three states, namely, Cross River, Ebonyi, Ekiti, and FCT, while FOMWAN is also working in three states namely, Borno, Kaduna, Kwara, and FCT as well.
“We have both worked together during the Risk Communication and Community Engagement Strategy programme in 10 states and WOWICAN also worked in Calabar 2022 during the United Nations International Day of rural women cultivating good food for all. All these were done in collaboration with UN Women.”
Ihesiulo added, “As we enter into this phase which was designed to extend our reach and also clarify certain questions that must have been encountered in the field with regard to the elections, we hope to strengthen our efforts so we can achieve more.
“Prof. Chinua Achebe of blessed memory said in one of his quotes, ‘when we gather together in the moonlight, it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound.’ We are gathered as mothers to confront the disinterest associated with elections, to dissuade those of us who sell our votes, and to underline the fact that elections are about dialogue and not violence.”
“We equally want to appeal to voters to consider and vote for credible women candidates,” she said.
She appreciated the United Nations Women for the support, financial, logistics and otherwise, towards the success of the mobilization and sensitization exercise and also thanked the Independent National Electoral Commission, the traditional and religious leaders, civil rights groups, market women and police commissioners, for their support.