Pray, But Go Cast Your Vote on Election Day - UN Women, WOWICAN Charge Ebonyi Women

By Israel Mbam, Abakaliki

With the countdown to February 25th and March 11th 2023 Nigeria general elections, women in Ebonyi State have been advised not to depend on prayers alone but to also take steps to mobilize their fellow women to go out and cast their votes for their preferred candidates in the elections. The call was made at a one-day women town hall meeting held on Tuesday, 7th February, 2023 at the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Azuiyiokwu Model Parish Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, organized by Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN) and UN women with support from government of Canada.

In her address, the National Chairperson of WOWICAN, Deaconess Amb Mrs. Bolanle Victoria Ihesiulor noted that the town hall meeting was one of the several activities in their partnership with the UN women, to mobilize and sensitize women to effectively participate in the 2023 general elections. 

The WOWICAN Chairperson who was represented by Elder Mrs. Nkechi Chukwu thanked the wisdom of the UN women and her partners for the initiative, adding that Christian women in Nigeria align themselves to the primary objectives of enabling women’s participation in who leads and governs them, and in ensuring that deserving women are also elected into responsibilities of leadership.

“Working with you in spirit through the advocacy visits, the mobilization and sensitization walk in the street, markets and all the corners of your State has affirmed my belief in the fact that wherever women are involved in any corporate endeavor, there is always a positive difference. Alphonse de Lamartine (1790 -1869) held that there is a woman at the beginning of all great things. 

“In politics, Margret Thatcher believed that if you want something said, engage a man, but if you want something done, look for a woman. We have all done well in such a short time frame to have extended our reach to even difficult areas,” she stated.
On her part, the Ebonyi State Chairperson of Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN), Lady Nwanyieze Nkwoagu explained that the 2023 election is critical to Nigeria. She noted that women carry the voting power to make any positive change, adding that the number of women in Nigeria put together can give victory to any person they want.
Lady Nkwoagu further held that “prayers for the election are very important, but prayers are not counted at the polling station during elections. What is counted is number of votes cast. Therefore, pray fervently for the election, but come out and cast your votes that day, it is your vote that will count and not your prayers.

“Also note that this time around, we are not voting for political parties, we are voting for credible and God fearing personalities to lead our country, no matter the party. We are looking for people who will lead our country and change things for better and not party.

“All women should shine their eyes and vote wisely for good leaders. We must forget about tribe, religion and vote the person we know that is capable of bringing good change and leadership so that Nigerian women, our children and every person will live in peace and the country will prosper”. She concluded.

Speaking on security preparedness for the elections, the Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi State, represented by DCP Regina C. Udoette, assured the women that all security arrangement for peaceful and successful elections has been put in place. She noted that inter agency collaboration and enough personnel have been trained on how to provide adequate security for voters, INEC officials and others who are involved in the election process.
DCP Udoette advised women not to sale their votes or be intimidated by politicians, knowing that coming out to vote on the election day will help bring positive change in the leadership of the country.

Other speakers including Mrs. Chinyere Okogwu of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Chukwuemeka Otta of YOWICAN, Snr. Apostle Elekwa Chima who is the CAN Chairman of Afikpo South LGA, traditional rulers present and the leadership of Muslim Women, also took turn to emphasis on the importance of women to mobilize themselves and participate in the elections. They were also advised to avoid selling their votes and the need to vote the right persons irrespective of their political party.  

The women town hall meeting had in attendance over fifty women drawn from the five blocs of CAN, Muslim Women, the media, CSos and other women leaders in Ebonyi State.

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