Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Commissioner, in charge of information and communication, Dr. Chris Iyimoga has stated that the newly launched INEC Gender Policy document is beyond application in elective political positions. He said that the implementation has started from the commission, which has as a mark of example made a woman the secretary to the commission, in the person of Mrs. Augusta Chinwe Ogakwu.
Dr. Iyimogu said that the Gender Policy document is not one of those documents that goes into the file and remains dormant. “It is a document that is feasible and can be used to change the face of INEC and Nigeria”, he said. He revealed that the document did not just come out of INEC, but after wide participation of wide variety of stakeholders; CSOs, politicians etc.
The commissioner posited that implementation would bring out the essence of the policy, for people to benefit from it. “I think what is critical is not just presentation of the document but seeing that it is indeed implemented”, he said. He made this disclosure at the public presentation of the Gender Policy Document.
Speaking at the public presentation held at Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja, and Professor Jega expressed confidence that the gender policy, the first in the life of the commission, would not only address the gender gap within the commission but also promote a gender responsive electoral process.
“The right to participate at all levels is at the heart of every democratic society and is an important yardstick for measuring the credibility of every election,” he said.
The INEC chairman pointed out that the gender policy was not an isolated document, but “draws from the National Gender Policy (2006) and the Vision 20:2020 document,’’ which, he explained, mandated all state and non-state actors to promote gender equality through their institutional practices and policies.
He said the policy objectives included ensuring that INEC policies, plans, process and operations were gender responsive, adding that the objectives were also to encourage gender equity and balance within political parties.
He said, “It is also aimed at increasing budgetary provision and mobilizing partners to effectively provide funding for gender sensitive actions within their purview.”
According to Prof. Jega, “The policy is also aimed at supporting an enabling legislative environment to achieve gender equality and bridge gaps in political representation in elective posts at all electoral level.”
The objective of the INEC Gender Policy is to encourage gender equity and balance within political parties.