The Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (Women Fund) joined other Civil Society Organizations’ coalition in The Nigerian Civil Society Situation (Situation Room) to observe the Ondo State Governorship elections from the gender perspective from Thursday 24th – Sunday 27th November, 2016 in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria.
Women Fund commends the professionalism displayed by the electoral management body, INEC during the elections especially at the polling units (PU) as well as the gender balance employed in the deployment of adhoc staff. The Fund considers this a laudable feat worthy of replication during forth coming elections.
The Fund noted that systems and processes on the Election Day was largely gender responsive at almost all the polling units, with particular preferential treatments for pregnant women, nursing mothers, aged women and persons with disabilities. In addition, voters lined up based on gender and the electorate generally conducted themselves in a peaceful and orderly manner. The average turn-out of 584,997 (35.3%) voters out of 1,659,186 registered voters was instructive with females recording 839,548 (50.6%) of the total numbers of registered voters while the male recorded 819,638 (49.4%), evidencing a slightly superior female gender representation amongst the electorate.
The Fund also observed that security personnel generally carried out their duties in a civil and professional manner except for the non-gender balanced deployment of security personnel at all the polling units. The ratio of male to female security personnel deployed to the polling units was estimated at 1:20, with some of the polling units recording no female security personnel.
The Fund however noted with dismay that out of the 28 political parties, the state recorded only 4 (14%) female governorship aspirants and 5(18%) female deputy governorship aspirants, none of which represented any of the foremost political parties. A total of Six (6) valid votes was shared amongst the Four (4) female governorship candidates: Margaret Modupe Ogunyoku of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Oluyi Folashade Hellen of African People’s Alliance (APA), Falana Olamide Juliana of Democratic People’s Party (DPP) and Orunmoluyi Temidola Olagbegi of People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN). This represents a disappointing decimal vis a vis their male counterparts. It also indicates a negligible percentage in contrast to the gender distribution of female registered voters (839,548), the numbers of valid votes (551,272) to the number of valid votes shared between four female aspirants.
The Fund hereby enjoins all stakeholders as follows:
- INEC should continue to sensitize voters for subsequent elections
- Political parties should field more female candidates for gender parity and embrace the twinning system to engender inclusion
- CSOs should continually engage the electorate to appreciate women’s role women in governance and the uniqueness they bring to the decision making table
- Government should make good promises made during campaigns to consider fair gender representation into appointive positions.
- Security agencies should deploy more female personnel in future elections
- Female aspirants and candidates should start early to engage their constituencies and leverage on the popularity of their parties
- Traditional and religious leaders should support female leadership for sustainable development
30th November, 2016