18 September 2020

Preamble:

The Gender and Election Watch (GEW) is an initiative of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, a member of the Nigerian Civil Society Situation room. The Nigeria Women Trust Fund (NWTF) Gender and Election Watch (GEW) is in Edo state in collaboration with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.

The observation of election from a gender perspective is critical and has emerged as one of the most tangible and significant dimensions of democratic development around the world. This strategic effort has been relied upon to gather information and carryout analysis about women’s participation in elections compared to those of men. With the outbreak of the covid-19, it has become even more critical to ensure that gender equality issues are reflected in election administration, operational and security planning, observation, training programs for election officials, and support to civil society. The analysis is essential towards the evolvement of a democratic process that is gender responsive.

To this end NWTF GEW has deployed 25 citizens observers across eight (8) Local Government Areas of Edo state for the Edo State Governorship Election scheduled for September 19, 2020 to conduct an assessment of how all elements of an election process in the State affect women in general and similarly serve as a research spectrum for other program interventions and an assessment of how all elements of an election process are carried amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic. Accordingly, the NWTF GEW has put in place a Watch Room with 3 hotlines to observe progress of the election from a gender perspective.

NWTF GEW carried out a pre-election observation as follows:

  1. That of the 14 candidates contesting the governorship election, two (2) are women. This represents fourteen per cent (14.13%) of the candidates; and points a mini progression for Women’s political participation in Edo State.
  2. That Two (2) of the Fourteen (14) Deputy Governorship Candidates are women. This represents 14.13% of the candidates.
  3. There is steady progress in the level of preparedness of INEC in the deployment of sensitive and non-sensitive materials. As at the time of the pre-election visitation to INEC State office, all sensitive and non-sensitive materials had been distributed to all the 18 LGAs.
  4. That amidst the tension initially felt, the environment is generally calm. It is hoped that this will be sustained during and after the election period. Given the encouraging atmosphere, women in Edo state are urged to turn out en-masse to cast their votes for candidates of their choice. 
  1. There is strong presence of armed security personnel in the state.
  2. Domestic election observers from outside Edo have been restricted to only observe elections in specific LGAs.

We urge on the following:

  • That the security agents should continue to ensure that the atmosphere is calm to encourage the participation of women.
  • That all voters should ensure that they abide by the government protocols on safety at the polls and COVID -19 prevention measures
  • That all indicators that could lead to irregularities in the 19 September 2020 elections should be minimized to increase the credibility and fairness of the elections
  • That Security personnel should be ready to arrest electoral offenders and document all evidence of infractions and violence and share their information with INEC for appropriate actions.
  • That political parties be reminded of their commitment to the Peace Accord signed by the 14 candidates for a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the elections.
  • That the Edo State Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should sustain its drive towards a gender responsive electoral process through the disaggregation of data in reflecting the number of female voters compared to male voters.
  • We call on all residents of Edo State and women in particular to turn out en-masse to participate in the election on 19 September 2020.
  • We encourage INEC to ensure that there is unfettered access for female voters especially those with special needs.

The Gender and Election Watch (GEW) is an initiative of Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF), and is in Edo State in collaboration with the Westminster Foundation aimed at observing and analyzing the participation of women compared to men in elections through election observation from a gender perspective.  

GEW Hotlines: +234-7025005026, 7025005027, 7025005028.

Signed:

Mufuliat Fijabi

Chief Executive Officer

For Gender and Election Watch (GEW) Room

of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF).

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