The National Assembly says it will collaborate with stakeholders to provide equal and effective participation in electoral process to the “marginalised’’ groups.
President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, made the pledge at the Symposium/Biennial General Assembly of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions on Monday in Abuja.
Represented by Senator Kabiru Gaya, Lawan said that the participation of the marginalised group in the political life and electoral process in various West Africa countries could not be over emphasised.
He said: “Women, youth, Persons With Disabilities Internally Displaced Persons and other maginalised groups are critical stakeholders in nation building.
“Therefore, the inability of these segments of our society to actively contribute their full potential to the national building has far reaching implications to political stability and social economic development.
“Measures should, therefore, be taken to enhance their popular participation and engagement with the political process, not only as voters, but also as candidates for elections and holders as of leadership positions in political parties.”
He said that there were many proven and promising solutions that could guarantee progress towards enhancing the popular participation and engagement of the marginalised segment in the electoral process.
Similarly, Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said that the 9th Assembly was committed to expediting the consideration and passage of bills that would promote inclusivity in Nigeria.
Gbajabiamila, who was represented by Ahmed Idris, said that the Nigerian parliament was working to continue to refine electoral laws to achieve more credible electoral outcome in the country.
He said: “Beyond credible elections, however, we also need to open the democratic space to give more opportunity to persons who otherwise will be denied equal access and opportunities to political participation.
“It is in this light that we reiterate our commitment as parliament to make progressive legislations that will promote inclusivity of all stakeholders within the democratic community especially, women, young persons and the physically challenged.’’