The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) believes that violence against women in elections (VAWE) threatens the integrity of the electoral process and the quality of democracy because it coercively excludes women from having a voice in political life and governance of their country. It also believes persons with disabilities (PWDs) are considerably more vulnerable to the overarching threats of electoral violence.
In light of this, the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria, FOMWAN and the Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria, WOWICAN, has called on residents to fairly cast their votes for the right candidate without indulging in any act of violence.
Speaking at a press conference held in Osogbo on July 14 and 15 at the Interreligious Dialogue and Solidarity Forum, the Chairperson of WOWICAN in the State, Prof Dudusola Iyabode, and the Chairperson of FOMWAN, Alhaja Oladapo, jointly urged citizens, especially women, to avoid vote buying as they go to the polls.
Prof. Iyabode said: “We need to be in unison, we don’t want war, they should give women priority and also people with disabilities so that they can’t run away from election, they should be given special treatment. We need security, not to scare away women during the election, expecting free and fair election.”
On her part, Alhaja Oladapo affirmed that “Selling your vote is like selling your destiny, the little money given to you cannot take you to any place, don’t be desperate to involve in vote buying.”
Together, they called on INEC to ensure the election is free, fair and credible while stressing that women and persons with disabilities be given special treatment on the day of the election.
“From INEC, we want a free…[and fair election]. Pray for [a] peaceful atmosphere, we want peace to reign.”
On their part, the special assistant to the Grand Imam, Osun State Imam Abdul Salam Akinwumi, and the Vicar General, Catholic Diocese of Osogbo, Rev Thaddeus Ajayi, called on residents to go out and cast their vote peacefully as this is important to the development of any country.
“Your vote is your right, don’t trade it, don’t let anyone buy your destiny and put you in suffering for the next four years,” he said.
The clerics also called on the Electoral Officers to maintain a peaceful atmosphere at various polling units as this would motivate people to come out and vote.
“The INEC should please help us maintain peace, there should be no act of violence, so the people will not be scared,” he reiterated.
The religious leaders jointly urged residents to comport themselves during and after the election to avoid violence.
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