19 June 2022
The Gender and Election Watch (GEW), an initiative of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) was in Ekiti State and observed the Ekiti State Governorship election held on Saturday 18 June 2022 from a gender perspective. This strategic initiative has been put in place to gather information and carry out an analysis of women’s and men’s participation in the Ekiti election from a gender perspective.
To this end, NWTF GEW deployed fifty accredited observers and citizens observers across the Sixteen (16) Local Government Areas of Ekiti State for the State Governorship Election, to observe and give feedback for analysis and assessments on how all actions relating to the election impact on the electorate from a gender perspective.
NWTF GEW observed as follows:
Gender, Priority Voting and Access for Persons with Disabilities
- Both nursing fathers and Mothers were given priority voting. At Ward 9, Polling Unit 23, Ado Ekiti, priority was given to a nursing father to vote.
- In most Polling Units, the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers and persons with disabilities were given priority voting. Also, it was observed in most Polling Units where the GEW observation took place, that the elderly were offered seats while waiting for their turn on the priority line.
- Unfortunately, in one polling unit, some of the electorate kicked against priority voting for people with special needs and some pregnant women left without voting. The electorate claimed that they were on the queue before them.
- That 63 per cent of polling units observed had no access for persons with disabilities. However, those with personal aid (family and friends) were able to access the Polling units and vote.
Peaceful Election and Voter Conduct
- That the there was a remarkable turnout of voters (both male and females) who demonstrated commitment and enthusiasm despite the inclement weather in some parts of the state to vote for the candidate of their choice.
- That the governorship election was observed to be peaceful in most parts of the state.
Timely Conduct of Election
- That the election process commenced early, as most polling units became active with INEC personnel presence between 7.00 am and 8.00 am across the state.
- There was adequate and timely distribution of sensitive and non-sensitive materials to the polling units.
- That all stages of the election including accreditation, voting, close of voting, counting and collation in most polling units went on as scheduled.
Use of the BVAS Machines
- It was observed that the BVAS machines functioned effectively in most polling units, although there were pockets of complaints which were resolved in a timely manner.
Security Personnel at the Polling Units
- In most polling units, GEW observed, security officers arrived early. Also, they were observed to be orderly and prevented potential arguments that could have led to a crisis among voters.
- Covert vote-buying was observed in some locations, where GEW observed, by agents of some political parties. This act was tagged “Dibo sebe” (vote and cook soup).
NWTF GEW Recommends as follows:
- The needs of all, men women and persons with disabilities should continue to be met to fast-track a full gender-responsive electoral system.
- That more voter education sensitization should be conducted by INEC and other stakeholders on the importance of priority voting in elections to safeguard the rights of persons with special needs such as pregnant women, the elderly, nursing fathers and mothers, and persons with disabilities.
- The timeliness of all aspects/stages of the Ekiti State Governorship election is highly commendable. INEC is encouraged to keep the momentum throughout the remaining elections especially the Osun State Governorship and the 2023 General Elections.
- The effective functionality of the BVAS machines and the timely response to address the few challenges is also highly commendable and should be sustained.
- The security personnel should continue to remain non-partisan and keep up the good support to the democratic governance in Nigeria.
- The reduction in the openness of the acts of voter inducement in the Ekiti Governorship election, unlike previous elections, is an acknowledgement that it is inconsistent with the electoral process. All stakeholders and relevant agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission should keep up sensitization, close monitoring, arrest, and prosecution of offenders.
- Female candidates in the Ekiti State election are commended for their tenacity and courage in pressing on to the end and making history.
NWTF concludes that the 2022 Ekiti Governorship election was peaceful. We commend the good people of Ekiti State especially the women, who turned out to cast their votes. NWTF also commends the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the timely distribution of electoral materials and the good conduct of the Ad hoc Staff and Monitors of the Commission during the election. In addition, NWTF commends the security operatives for maintaining law and order at the polls.
The Gender and Election Watch (GEW) is an initiative of the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF), aimed at observing and analyzing the participation of women and men in elections through election observation from a gender perspective.
GEW Hotlines: +234-09169433318, 09136879623
Chief Executive Officer
For Gender and Election Watch (GEW) Room
of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF)