Post-election Press Statement on the Osun State Governorship Election

17 July 2022

 

Preamble:

The Gender and Election Watch (GEW), an initiative of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) was in Osun State and observed the Osun State Governorship election held on Saturday 16 July 2022 from a gender perspective. This strategic initiative was put in place to gather information and carry out an analysis of women’s and men’s participation in the Osun election from a gender perspective.

NWTF GEW deployed fifty accredited observers and citizen observers across the thirty (30) Local Government Areas of Osun State to observe the Governorship Election.  The observers gave real-time feedback.  The observation and feedback focused on the gender analysis of male and female candidates, voters, and Ad hoc staff, in the election, INEC’s preparedness and conduct of the election, the security situation and how it impacted the participation of women differently from men. There was also a close assessment against the background of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.

 

NWTF GEW observed as follows:

Turn out of voters and women in particular

NWTF GEW observed that at the polling units, there was a remarkable turn-out of voters at the polls. Aged women were also sited coming out to vote. The enthusiasm demonstrated by the aged is commendable.

 Priority Voting and Access for women and Persons with Disabilities:

The conduct of the election with the implementation of the INEC guidelines on priority voting was observed in several polling units. Aged people, pregnant women, nursing mothers and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) were given priority attention to casting their votes.  However, at PU 001 ward 3, Iwo LGA, there was no priority voting for pregnant and nursing mothers. Additionally, at Unit 3 Ward 1, Isale-oba Iwo LGA, there was no priority queue for the aged, PWDs, nursing mothers and pregnant women.

Similarly, at PU 006 ward 08, Osogbo with registered voters of 1,861 there was priority voting for PWDs, but the polling unit was not easily accessible. In addition, at Ward 2 unit 5, Iwo LGA, PWDs were attended to first before other voters. Nonetheless, some of these polling units were not accessible to the PWDs.

Inclusion and INEC ad-hoc staff:

NWTF GEW observed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had almost equal representation of young women and men as ad-hoc staff.  Out of the 267 ad-hoc staff sighted at the polling units where observation took place, it was observed that 138 were males while 129 were females representing 52 % males and 48 % females.   Nevertheless, NWTF GEW spotted only one PWD who was also an Ad hoc Staff at Unit 004 Ward 05, Ejigbo LGA.

 

Peaceful election and conduct of security personnel

In most polling units, NWTF GEW observed that security officers arrived early, were orderly and prevented potential arguments that could have disrupted the election. It was also observed that the 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. The conduct of the voters was mostly organized and peaceful. However, at PU 004 Owode Community Primary School Ward 05, Alusekere in Ede North LGA, the polling officer was not available at some point, and the polling unit became rowdy. Even though, it was later resolved with additional deployment of security personnel and the presence of an INEC supervisor.

 

Other areas of observation

  1. Voter Inducement

NWTF GEW observers 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 their cash reward. Twenty-five percent of NWTF GEW observers reported cases of veiled voter inducement. For instance, observers reported concealed vote trading at Unit 006, Ayetoro, Olorunda LGA.

 

  1. Conduct of Election as scheduled

The election process commenced early, as most polling units where NWTF GEW observed became active with INEC personnel present between 7.00 am and 8.00 am across the state. There was an adequate and timely distribution of sensitive and non-sensitive materials to the polling units.  Also, all stages of the election including accreditation, voting, close of voting, counting and collation in most polling units went on as scheduled.

 

  • BVAS

The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) worked optimally in the polling units observed across the state, but there were few exceptional cases where the BVAS did not respond until the timely intervention of INEC engineers. For instance, at Unit 009, Ward 2, Idi Oke, Iwo LGA, the machine did not work well under the tent until it was moved to a corner where it worked. However, the place was no longer easily accessible for the elderly and PWDs. NWTF GEW observers reported 90% functionality of the BVAS as against 75% performance in the recently conducted Ekiti State governorship election.

 

General assessment:

  • Many women especially the elderly turned out to vote. Also, a significant number of PWDs were sighted at some of the polling units.
  • There was one act of violence reported by NWTF GEW observers, but the election was generally peaceful.
  • Voter inducement was covertly and overtly done by party agents.
  • There was remarkable turnout of eligible voters in the Osun State governorship election.

 

Recommendation

  • NWTF GEW hereby recommends that INEC continues to sustain its inclusivity drive to reflect its policy on inclusion.
  • That it builds on this gain achieved in Osun State to have 100% functionality of the BVAS in future elections.
  • That the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Orientation Agency (NOA), CSOs and other relevant stakeholders continue to sensitize the citizenry on their rights to exercise their civic duty and shun vote trading.
  • That the various agencies, especially the anti-graft agencies, do not only stop at the arrest of perpetrators of voter inducement but go on to actual prosecution.

 

Conclusion

The Nigerian Women Trust Fund’s Gender and Election Watch (NWTF GEW) concludes that the turnout of the electorate in the Osun governorship election was impressive. Also, the BVAS functionality is commendable and a signal to better performance at the 2023 general elections.  Similarly, the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) early deployment of ad-hoc staff and materials is commendable.

 

The Nigerian Women Trust Fund’s GEW also wishes to commend the good people of Osun state, especially the women, elderly and the PWDs for their commitment to the electoral growth of the nation by coming out to elect the candidate of their choice in the Osun State governorship election.

 

 

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

Signed:

Mufuliat Fijabi

Chief Executive Officer

For Gender and Election Watch (GEW) Room

of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF)

NWTF GEW 2022 OSUN Governorship Election Statement