By Olawale Ibrahim, Lokoja
No fewer than 200 persons leaving with disabilities will be deployed as election observers in the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi state slated for November 16, 2019.
The Deputy country director, National Democratic Institute (NDI), Raymond Esebagbon stated this on Wednesday when the Challenge Parenthood Initiative paid the Secretary to the Kogi State Government Mrs. Folashade Ayoade an advocacy visit on the need to stop violence against women in the election and to ensure more women participation in the polls.
Esebagbon in his remarks noted that, this will be accomplished in collaboration with other NGO’s which include NDI, Inclusive Friends Associate (IFA), Challenge Parenthood Initiative (CPI), and Center for Democracy, USAID and Development (CDD).
The country director while noted that his organization has over the years continued to support good governance in the country, stating that, the injection of people with disabilities into the election process will promote inclusiveness in the system.
Esebagbon maintained that, one of the goals of the organization is to ensure that more women and youths participate in politics just as he emphasized that the non-governmental organization is committed to support issued based campaign and combat fake news before, during and after the polls.
According to him, as part of efforts to drive home this campaign towards achieving a violence-free election in the state, a veteran musician 2Face will be in Kogi State next week to sensitize electorates on the need for an hitch-free election.
According to him, about seven states including Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Adamawa, Lagos, Anambra and Enugu have keyed into the campaign to stop violence against women in the election.
Esebagbon who commended the Kogi State Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello for appointing more women in his cabinet since the state was created 28 years ago said the campaign will not yield fruit if the government failed to throw in their support.
He, however, listed health, education, job creation, public and civil service reform, infrastructural development as some of the primary thematic areas that the government should look into if it must succeed in the state.
In her response, the Secretary to the Kogi State Government Mrs. Ayoade while describing the state as a confluence of opportunity noted that, the present administration is determined to leave a legacy that will not be forgotten in the country.
She reminded her visitors that, the present administration inherited ghost workers who have been milking the state of its funds.
In her words, “We inherited a government was some politicians put their six-year-old child on the pay roles. We have cases of people that came with fake certificate, falsification of age, study leave for more than seven years. In the first four years, the governor was not ready to play politics.
“The governor is mindful of what will not cause violence in the state. He is the youngest governor, and he will always kick against it. He so much believes in women. In the history of government in the last 28 years, this is a government that has most women in government. The SSG, Head of Service, Director General of land and housing, public procurement and among all 229 ward assistance in Kogi state are women.”
According to her, since the present government officially kickoff on January 27, 2016, the governor has always kicked against violence in the state despite the negative utterance from the opposition.
The Kogi State government appointee, however, expressed worries on the negative utterance coming from the opposition parties to instigate violence in the state in a bid to gain cheap popularity.
Ayoade added that, it takes desperate politicians to begin to instigate violence in the state adding that, governor Yahaya Bello is not a desperate politician but rather someone who is ready to serve his people with transparency, accountability and good governance.
The SSG said women and children are more vulnerable in cases of violence as she enjoined electorates to always implore peace during and after the polls.
“On our own side, we are not training thugs but we are training voters who will use their PVC. They know when the pendulum is swinging to. Members of the BOT’s of PDP are joining hands with the governor to see his reelection.
“We already know that we are winning this election, so there is no need for do or die affair. We are not ready for any form of violence on the side of the APC and we are not ready to condole any form of violence,” she added.
Earlier in her remarks, the Executive Director Challenge Parenthood Initiative (CPI), Eunice Ambimbola also hinted that, the organization has trained 63 local government observers on violence against women during election stressing that, women over the years have been marginalized in the country.