NWTF, GEW laud INEC on Osun guber election
Asks commission to learn, build on gains
The Gender and Election Watch (GEW), an initiative of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), has lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and all stakeholders for the peaceful and women-friendly election in Osun State.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NWTF, Mufuliat Fijabi, a very good number of young and very old women came out to vote, saying the enthusiasm demonstrated by the aged was commendable.
She added that asides from aged women, pregnant women and nursing mothers, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) were given priority attention to casting their votes.
NWTF GEW deployed fifty accredited observers and citizens’ observers across the 30 Local Government Areas of the state to observe the election. The observers gave real-time feedback, focusing on the gender analysis of male and female candidates, voters and Adhoc staff and in the election; INEC’s preparedness and conduct of the election, security situation and how it impacted the participation of women differently from men.
On inclusion of women, Fijabi applauded INEC for their almost equal representation of young women, 48 percent to men’s 52 percent, even as she regretted that PWDs were sidelined, as there was just one PWD Adhoc staff at Unit 004 Ward 05, Ejigbo LGA.
Commending the security officers, she said most arrived early, were orderly and prevented potential arguments that could have disrupted the election. She said the general conduct of the security personnel was an added value to the election as it gave confidence to the electorate to come out to demonstrate their franchise.
She however noted that several factors marred the generally peaceful elections including voter inducement and malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in some polling units. “We noted the occurrence of voter inducement in some polling units in a veiled manner. Voters were observed to stylishly point or raise their ballot papers to party agents at polling units to show who they voted for and thereafter proceeded to get cash. Twenty-five percent of NWTF GEW observers reported cases of veiled voter inducement. For instance, at Unit 006, Ayetoro, Olorunda LGA, observers reported concealed vote trading. Despite some hiccups, there was 90% functionality of the BVAS as against 75% performance in the recently conducted Ekiti State governorship election.”
She enjoined INEC to sustain its inclusivity drive to reflect its policy on inclusion, build on this gain achieved in Osun State to have 100% functionality of the BVAS in future elections and relevant stakeholders must continue to sensitize the citizenry on their rights to exercise their civic duty and shun vote trading.
She concluded by urging agencies, especially the anti-graft agencies to not only stop at the arrest of perpetrators of voter inducement but go on to actually prosecute and make an example.