One expected INEC to be truly focused and steadfast, but this message of postponement coming only a few hours from the election has demoralized a lot of people, particularly women.
We had over 36 months to prepare for the 2019 general elections. Adequate funds, human resources, sophisticated equipment were made available and other logistics provided.
Foreign observers had arrived, security personnel were deployed.
In all of these women and children are the hardest hit. Majority have relocated to their home towns and withdrawn children from schools. Their businesses have come to a standstill. It is more devastating for women who lost their lives, their loved ones or got injured in the heat of the elections campaign in Abeokuta, Kano, Banghi-Gombe express road, Kebbi and lately Port-Harcourt. In the same vein, some women have been recently widowed on account of election matters. Some others who were involved in road crashes and robbery attacks while travelling to vote are still languishing in different hospitals. Petty traders, 90% of whom are women have had their businesses closed since Thursday to give way for a peaceful and supposedly free and fair election, which sadly has been postponed.
Most commercial activities were also brought to a stand-still and the economy has been negatively affected including the banks.
With the numeric strength of the Nigerian women, it is apparent that they are also both physically and mentally strong to move the nation to a higher level not only with their will-power but patriotism especially in voting and faith-based issues and entrepreneurship. Sadly enough this is not to be, because women have been perpetually confined to “Second Class Position”. In spite of the immense struggle for women’s voice to be heard and for them to be seen and their high educational achievements, we are still downtrodden because the women have chosen to be political jugglers and dictators.
Sadly, in Delta State only about 6 women have obtained their approvals from their parties to contest in the forth coming elections, where over 100 men have been vetoed to contest. This is happening in a state where 75% of the women have the votes. Needless to say that when chips are down, the women are only considered for women leaders and mobilizers, while the juicy jobs are for the men. (There is God Oh!)
There is another dehumanizing story in Delta state, the SSA to the sitting Governor instructed his aides to torture and met out in-human treatment to a woman who refused his sexual advances. Unfortunately, 2 or 3 women were involved in the sad incidence (His name his Eluho From Agbor, The Governor’s Place, He instructed his boys to bring the woman to his house and that was where the torture took place). We urge the Judiciary, Human Rights and Gender champions to take necessary action.
In conclusion, I am gladdened that women activists have refused to give up and have remained undaunted. We have rather doubled our efforts and have continued to appeal to women whose spirits have been dampened by the postponement to come out enmasse to make the changes where necessary.
I rest my case.
Lilian Nwokobia writes from Delta state