It was a moment for sober reflection for some elderly women who had been victims of gender-based violence, when the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Nigeria, Plateau State chapter, staged a campaign against sexual and gender-based violence in Gyel community of Jos South Local Government Area of the state.
The campaign began with the presentation of an action plan against gender-based violence to the Dagwom Rwey of Jos South, Da Ngah Dangyang, with a strong call to key into the fight against cultural norms that were injurious to women.
A 73-year-old woman, Esther Williams, who was a victim, said she was denied access to education because of her male siblings. She said she was made to work in the farm and do other menial jobs to sponsor the education of her brothers.
Esther said her father did not give her anything as inheritance but willed all his property to her brothers.
She said: “This reminded me of what happened when we were children. There was sentiment against the girl-child, whereby the boy-child would be sent to school and always protected. We are happy that such cultural norms are being addressed for a healthy society.
“For some of us, we were denied education only for our male siblings to go to school, while we don’t share in the inheritance of our parents. This practice set back the African society, which affected us greatly.”
The state chairperson of FIDA, Mrs. Obioma Achilefu, who led hundreds of women to Gyel community market and COCIN secondary schools to sensitize women and girls on their rights in the society, such as right to education like the boy-child, said gender violence should be avoided for the development of society.
Achilefu told the traditional ruler to use his office and ensure that women in the community got their share of the inheritance of their parents, which is currently being left as birthrights for the menfolk.
She noted that most women were dying in silence in their homes due to the previlence of gender-based violence that inflicts pains and agony on them.
According to her, the project, which was sponsored by Ford Foundation and implemented by FIDA, was aimed at sensitizing women and girls on their rights and to kick against all forms of gender-based violence.
She said: “We are happy that the key players have agreed on an action plan to ensure that all the socio-cultural activities that affect women negatively are nipped in the bud.
“We are here to disseminate the action plan and to create awareness for those whom these norms have not helped. We talking about norms such as women not having right of inheritance, culture of genital mutilation, rape and all forms of gender-based violence.
“We have come to tell the community that everybody should rise up, everybody should speak out, people should not keep quiet when there is gender-based violence, children should be exposed to education to have them understand the right that the laws of the land has given them.”
Former commissioner of justice, Plateau State, Olivia Dazyam, appreciated the Ford Foundation for sponsoring the programme and Gyel community for embracing the programme to correct most societal ills.
“We have challenges of sexual and gender-based violence in the community and female disinheritance, widowhood and dangerous practices such as rape and domestic violence, among others.
“For two years now, we have been interacting and empowering the community to arise and speak out against the dangerous practices. We are happy that, at the end, the community came out with an action plan that they will pursue to ensure the practice of sexual and gender-based violence are eliminated in the community,” she said.
The programme officer, FIDA, Plateau State, Rita A. Lasoju, and former chairperson of FIDA, Plateau State, Mary Izam, said the programme was to create awareness on gender rights among women and girls.
Lasoju noted that there has been prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence, female disinheritance, economic violence, and rape, among others. So, the community came together and developed an action plan to tackle the menace in the area.
The secretary of Dagwom Rwey of Jos South, Jonathan Dangyang, said the traditional institution has accepted the project and would do everything within the ambit of the law to minimize and eliminate gender-based violence in the community and ensure equal rights between the boy-child and the girl-child.
The sensitization walk enlightened people against the danger of sexual violence such as rape, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and harmful traditional practices, among others.
by Gyang Bere
Peer-to-peer Learning and Coaching Session for Trained Traditional/Community Leaders and CSOs in Nothern Nigeria
FIDA Nigeria as part of activities under the Palladium SCALE Project conducted a mentoring, coaching and peer-to-peer learning session for trained traditional/community leaders and civil society organizations under the project focal states from Northern Nigeria in Katsina, Katsina State on 21st July 2022. At the end of the session, the communities and civil society organizations developed a shared understanding for developing better coordination mechanisms and effective preventive and response strategies and referral pathways on SGBV & CEFM prevalent in focal communities on this intervention.
FIDA Nigeria on the 20th of July 2022 was before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to present a memo on 7 bills at the Public Hearing
The three bills FIDA commented on were:
1. Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2022 (SB.920);
2. Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2022 (SB.926);
3. African Union Convention on the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (Domestication and Enforcement) Bill, 2021 (SB.763);
FIDA Nigeria Memo was read by Ms Ogechi Abu on behalf of the Country Vice President, Ms Amina Suzanah Agbaje, who was unavoidably absent.
The committee appreciated FIDA Nigeria for fulfilling its mandate and for constantly showing up.
The FIDA NIGERIA team was also represented by: Ms Mariam Omeiza, Ms Rahila Dauda and Mr Ifeanyi Eze.
FIDA Nigeria commends the work on the proposed ACJA bill and also appreciates its partners on the Joint EU- UN spotlight initiative for its contributions and support at the public hearing.
FIDA Nigeria, Ekiti branch with support from Ford Foundation on the 8th of July 2022, conducted a community sensitization in Ilawe-Ekiti by disseminating validated Action Plans and fliers containing articles on Gender-Based Violence.
The team was received by High Chief Ajibade Olubunmi, representing the Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi (Afuntade I) at the Alawe Palace.
The members of the GBV Surveillance Team in Ilawe-Ekiti comprising of Traditional Leaders, Religious Leaders, Market Chiefs, Commercial Transporters, the Nigerian police force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and The Head of Primary Health Care(PHC). were formally introduced to the Oba.
FIDA Ekiti Chairperson gave a summary of the project and its impact on Ilawe-Ekiti Community after which copies of the Validated Action Plan, Fliers, and Consent Form were distributed to the Representative of the Monarch.
The High Chief in his remark thanked Ford Foundation and FIDA for choosing the Community for implementation of the project. He read out the content of the Commitment Form and signed same subsequently.
FIDA Ekiti and the GBV Surveillance Team thereafter went into the marketplace where they were introduced to the Community.
The Community were sensitized in Yoruba and Igbo Languages as well as Ekiti dialect. The Validated Action Plan was conspicuously hung at a strategic position where members of the community can read.
Subsequently, The team went to Ekiti State Girls Model College for sensitization where we had an audience of over 200 students. It was a highly interactive session with the students and teachers. Copies of the Validated Action Plan and fliers were donated to the school for its library. It was indeed an impactful outing.
The Osun Governorship Elections came to a conclusion as Nigeria’s Electoral Umpire the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the 17th day of July 2022 declared Senator Adeleke of the People’s Democratic Party, the winner of the polls having secured the highest number of votes cast during the election.
INEC records already in the public domain confirm that Senator Ademola Adeleke through a total number of 403,371 votes defeated the other fourteen opponents to emerge as the winner of the election, placing the incumbent Governor Mr. Gboyega Oyetola on second place with a total of 375,027 votes.
It is important to note that democracy thrives when the security of life and property as well as the safety of the electorate, electoral officials, materials, and critical infrastructures are guaranteed before, during, and after elections. The outcomes of this election align with our preliminary statements/findings earlier presented which recorded that the elections were generally peaceful with adequate security and logistical arrangements provided by the security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) well in place.
We commend eligible voters and all citizens of the state that participated actively in the process for their commitment and dedication to achieving a violent free election. We further commend INEC for the professionalism and dedication exhibited by most of her Adhoc staff which contributed to the early arrival of voting materials and personnel thus bringing credibility to the process. In addition, we commend the security agencies especially officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force for their dedication and commitment to free and fair elections.
FIDA Nigeria through her situation room situated in Oshogbo and Abuja respectively observed the participation of women and persons with disabilities during this Osun State Governorship Election which was held on Saturday 16th July 2022 through a network of her trained citizen observers deployed to monitor the process across the Local Government Areas of Osun State.
FIDA Nigeria with support from Goree Institute under the Charter Africa Project developed and deployed a monitoring tool via our trained citizen observers which were used in documenting election incidences and recording the participation of women and persons with disabilities during the election. Other information relating to election incidents is obtained from credible media sources and civil society actors respectively.
FIDA Nigeria’s Observations culminated in the dissemination of our pre-election statements on Thursday 14th and preliminary statements on Saturday 16th of July 2022. FIDA Nigeria through her observations provides a further post-election update on our findings as highlighted below:
2.1. Moderate Turnout of Voters:
FIDA Nigeria observed from INEC official results that 804,450 persons exercised their franchise at the polls from a total of 1.95 million registered voters across the state. This indicates that about 42.37% of registered voters actually participated in the polls with about 58.8% abstaining from the voting process. Comparatively the turnout is lower than in 2018, 2014, and 2003 Governorship Elections where about 45.74%, 53.14%, and 58.63% of the total voting population respectively exercised their franchise accordingly.
The implication of this outcome means that there needs to be an improved voter’s awareness strategy by all stakeholders towards ensuring an increase in the voting population even as confidence is gradually restored due to the impeccable performance of INEC and the existence of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.
2.2. Close of Polls
FIDA Nigeria’s observers reported that at about 4 pm, 87% of polling units observed had concluded voting and counting of votes had either commenced or ended accordingly. However, about 13% of polling units visited still had the voting process ongoing after 4pm due to the late arrival of the electoral materials or malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine. For instance at polling unit 5, ward 4, Ede North LGA, voting was observed ongoing after the hours of 4pm, similarly, in some polling units across Irepodun LGA and polling unit 1, St Peter Primary School, Odo-Otin LGA, voting was observed ongoing even as polls ended across most polling units. On this outcome, we would clamor for more effective and efficient service delivery from INEC ahead of the next elections.
2.3. Presence of Political Party Agents in Polling Units.
FIDA Nigeria observed that 48% of the polling units observed had more than three (3), party agents, on ground, while 44% of polling units visited were observed to have had three (3) party agents, and 8% of polling units were observed to have had only two (2) party agents present at the polling units. Furthermore, political party agents were observed to not have engaged in an open campaign in at least 96% of the polling units we covered and were reported to have agreed with the sanctity of the process by signing the election results across all polling units covered by our observers. Similarly, our observers reported that election results were displayed across all polling units visited.
2.4. Secrecy of the Ballot
FIDA Nigeria observed that the ballot process was transparent and fair in 87% of polling units covered by our observers, while voters in more than 78% of the covering polling units voted in secrecy. Our observers reasonably noted the election was free and fair in polling units except with the incidents of vote buying occurring in 16% of the polling units by leading political parties between the sum of N2, 000 to N5000 respectively.
2.5. Presence of Security Personnel
Our observation recorded an adequate number of Security agents present in 84% of the polling units covered. Our findings revealed this proportion were unarmed with firearms, however, 16% were reportedly armed with firearms. Security personnel were further reported to have conducted themselves without partialism.
2.6. Priority Voting for Persons with Disabilities & Vulnerable Population
FIDA Nigeria observed that persons with disabilities, the elderly/aged, pregnant women, and nursing mothers were prioritized in the voting process by INEC Adhoc Officials. Our Observers reported that Persons living with disabilities were prioritized in at least 56% of the polling units. While only 32% of the polling units provided special kits for persons living with disabilities however 68% of the polling units did not make such provisions. For instance, a gentleman living with albinism used a magnifying glass provided by INEC, to search for his name on the Register of Voters and subsequently casted his vote at Polling Unit 14, Ward 7, Ede North LGA.
Similarly, in polling unit 004, ward 10, Ife Central LGA, nursing mothers, pregnant women, and persons with disabilities were prioritized thus exercising their franchise speedily. At polling unit 003, ward 1, Olorunda LGA, pregnant women and the Elderly were prioritized by Electoral Officials. Furthermore, at Polling Unit 23, Ward 5, Oshogbo LGA, Pregnant women & the Elderly were prioritized accordingly. However, at polling unit 12, Ward 2, Ife North LGA, only persons with disabilities were prioritized while at Polling Unit 02, Ward 4, Oshogbo LGA, we observed that there was no preference for women, the aged, and persons with disabilities. Generally, 80% of the polling units prioritized pregnant women, the elderly, and nursing mothers.
In view of our pre-election, preliminary, and post-election observations/findings during the election, FIDA Nigeria recommends the following to deepen the electoral process in Nigeria ahead of the general elections in 2023:
- Prosecution of electoral offenders reported to have committed all forms of electoral offenses in contravention to the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) to serve as a deterrent to others.
- We observed that only 32% of the polling units as reported had in place special kits for persons living with disabilities however 68% of the polling units did not have any such provisions. Based on these findings, INEC should put in place the electoral needs of persons with disabilities to aid their full participation in future elections in Nigeria. This can be achieved through, for example, the provision of adequate sensitive materials such as braille for voters who have visual impairments.
- Train and retrain electoral officers and ad-hoc staff to enable them to deliver services that are adequate to the changing needs of the electorates in Nigeria.
- For future elections in Osun state and given the persistent below-average voter turnout in the last two Governorship Elections (2018, & 2022), We urge INEC to embark on high-level dialogues with key stakeholders including traditional and religious leaders towards encouraging the participation of more female electorates, persons with disability, and citizens, in general, in exercising their franchise at subsequent elections.
3.2. Security Agencies
- FIDA Nigeria is calling on all security agencies deployed for election duty to arrest and investigate all persons involved in acts of vote buying reported in different parts of the state for prosecution;
- A continuous need to adhere to the principles of impartiality and neutrality toward securing the polls which will in turn mitigate violence perpetuated during elections especially those targeted at women.
3.3. Politicians and Political Parties
i) Should maintain peace and be magnanimous in victory.
ii) They should work with all Osun citizens including those in the opposition parties to improve the governance of the state.
- Should desist from the production of sensational headlines and hate speeches that contribute to increased tension before, during, and after elections;
- Should verify and fact-check all information received before disseminating it to the public.
- They should remain professional, neutral, and non-partisan in the discharge of duties.
Long Live Osun State.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Amina Agbaje (Mrs)
Country Vice President/National President.
FIDA Nigeria through her situation room situated in Oshogbo and Abuja respectively observed the participation of women and persons with disabilities at the Osun State Governorship Election held on Saturday 16th July 2022 through trained citizen observers deployed across the Local Government Areas of Osun State.
FIDA Nigeria with support from Goree Institute under the Charter Africa Project has tracked pre-election incidents ahead of the Osun Governorship Election which was disseminated to the public via our pre-election statement released on Thursday 14th July 2022. We have deployed our monitoring tool via our citizen observers which will be used in documenting election incidences promoting violence against women and persons with disabilities at the polls. Other information relating to election incidents are obtained from credible media sources and civil society actors respectively. FIDA Nigeria continues to closely watch the process across the thirty (30) Local Government Areas of the State until it is concluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The following issues are highlighted as part of our preliminary report:
2.1. Commencement of Polls
Reports across the Local Government Areas in Osun state observed indicate that there was early and high voter turnout for the polls across the state as security personnel, electoral officers and election materials arrived at most polling units between the hours of 8:00 – 9:00 am. 24% of the polling units had the election materials before 8 AM, 48% by 8 AM and 28% by 8:30 AM. Furthermore, we observed that 64% of polling units visited had more than one electoral official, 24% had 3 electoral officials, and 12 % had two (2) electoral officials. With regards to participation of female electoral officials, we observed that a larger percentage of the polling units visited, that is about 76% had more than 2 female electoral officials, 12% had less than 2 officials, while 12% were above 2 officials.
For instance, at polling unit 007, Ward 3, Boluwaduro LGA, polling unit 012, ward 2, Ife North LGA, accreditation commenced between 8.20- 8.30 am, Similarly at polling unit 7, ward 6, Iwo LGA, accreditation commenced as early as 8 am, however at polling unit 23, ward 5, Oshogbo LGA, voters were accredited at 9.45 am.
2.2. Turnout of Female Voters & Persons with Disabilities:
FIDA Nigeria observed a large turnout of female voters in about 88% of the polling units observed. Our Observers reported that only 12% of the polling units visited had low voters. For instance, at Polling Unit 1, Ward 1, Ife South LGA, about 175 women were observed exercising their franchise, similarly, at polling 1, Ikeja ward 2, Ife South LGA, about 204 women were observed undergoing the accreditation process. Similarly at polling unit 003, ward 1, Olorunda LGA, we observed a large turnout of female voters. At polling 005, ward 7, Ifedayo LGA a good number of female voters were observed exercising their franchise, Similarly, at Unit 004, Ward 10, Ife Central LGA, more female voters were observed exercising their franchise. Furthermore, at Polling unit 7, ward 10, Odo-Otin LGA, more than a hundred women were observed exercising their franchise. Our observers reported that 88% of the covering polling units observed a low turnout of persons living with disabilities across polling units visited.
2.3. Priority Voting for Vulnerable & Marginalized Persons
FIDA Nigeria observes that persons with disabilities, the elderly/Aged, pregnant women and Nursing mothers were prioritized in the voting process by INEC Adhoc Officials. Our Observers reported that Persons living with disabilities were prioritized in at least 56% of the polling units. While only 32% of the polling units provided special kits for persons living with disabilities however 68% of the polling units didn’t. However, 80% of the polling units prioritized pregnant women, the elderly, and nursing mothers. For instance, at polling unit 004, ward 10, Ife Central LGA, nursing mothers, pregnant women, and persons with disabilities were prioritized thus exercising their franchise speedily. At polling unit 003, ward 1, Olorunda LGA, pregnant women and the Elderly were prioritized by Electoral Officials. Furthermore, at Polling Unit 23, Ward 5, Oshogbo LGA, pregnant women & the Elderly were prioritized accordingly. However, at polling unit 12, Ward 2, Ife North LGA, only persons with disabilities were prioritized while at Polling Unit 02, Ward 4, Oshogbo LGA, we observed that there was no preference for women, the aged, and persons with disabilities
2.4. Functionality of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System:
FIDA Nigeria has observed that across most polling units within our purview, the bimodal voter’s accreditation system was largely functional which aided accreditation and the voting process. However, we observed some few discrepancies of where the BVAS were not functional. At polling unit 7, ward 10, Odo-Otin LGA, the BVAS was observed to have developed fault and was not rectified as at 12 pm. About 64% of the covering polling units were able to resolve the BVAS issue experienced, while 28% are yet to report resolve as at the time of this reports.
2.5. Security-Related Observations
FIDA Nigeria observed that security officials/personnel in at least 52% of polling units visited were perceived to be impartial, with 28% perceived to be very impartial and 20% perceived to have partial electoral/security officials. We further observed that Security personnel were present in 84% of the covering polling units unarmed with firearms while 16% are reported armed with firearms with at least one police officer is present at all of our covering polling units. Seemingly our observers in 68% of the polling units reported the presence of more than 4 security personnel. While 12% of the polling units had three security personnel, 16% had two security personnel and 4% has 1 security personnel each. Conclusively 80% of the covering polling units were observed and reported to be very secure at the close of polls as no incidences of ballot box snatching was observed.
2.6. Vote Trading: FIDA Nigeria observed disturbing incidents of vote trading across the state especially as our observers reported that about 16% of the polling units were to have witnessed voting inducements. For instance, at polling unit 2, ward 3, Isokan LGA, Incidence of vote buying were observed by leading political parties between N3000 to N5000 respectively. At PU005, Ward 08 St Peter’s School Sekona, Ede South LGA, Our observers reported incidence of vote buying. Similarly at PU 02, ward 002, Ayedade LGA, and Polling Unit 12, Ward 12, Ife North LGA, voters were induced with the sum of N2, 000 –N5, 000.
FIDA Nigeria will continue to observe the elections and later issue her post-election statement to detail more on the overall participation of women and persons with disabilities.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Amina Agbaje (Mrs)
Country Vice President/National President
FIDA Abuja on Saturday the 16th of July 2022, went on an outreach to the community of MABUSHI, at the Chief’s Palace in the person of Alhaji Aminu Akuyi (Esu of MABUSHI Village) FCT, Abuja.
Led by the Chairperson, Miss Chibuzo M Nwosu, conveyed the legal implications of the provisions of the VAPP Act 2015 to the curious men and women of the community. Key provisions such as Rape, FGM, Forceful Ejection from Home, Forceful Economic Dependence, Spousal Battery, Harmful Widowhood Practices, Indecent Exposure, Incest and Political Violence of State Actors were in focus.
The outreach had in attendance, the Palace Chief cabinet amongst whom were the Sarkin Yaki Mr. James Kusase, the Jikwo of Palace Usman Gambo; the Village Head Nuhu Zakwuyi; the Asst Women Leader Terna Joshua; Secretary to the Woman Leader Justina Lazarus; the Kuyabana of Palace Danladi Dayako and the Women Governor Adamu Baba Busa.
Questions centered around these provisions were asked by the attendees. At the end of the lecture, the Palace Chief applauded FIDA for its achievements and a well-informed lecture. He further requested that more of such lectures be organized having been the first of its kind in the Community.
In her closing remark, the Chairperson thanked the Palace Chief and members of his cabinet for the warm reception while assuring of FIDA’s presence and its commitment to serve humanity. Bags of grains were donated to the community by the branch.
FIDA Nigeria with support from Goree Institute under the Charter Africa Project on the 15th of July 2022 ahead of Saturday’s Osun State Gubernatorial Elections trained citizen observers in Osun state.
The observers will monitor and report on the electoral processes across the various local government areas of the state during the polls.
Observers were enjoined to conduct themselves creditably by remaining non-partisan as well as ensuring that their emotions are not clouded by sentiments whilst executing their roles as citizen observers across the selected Local Government Areas during the polls.
On Friday, July 15, 2022, members of the Lagos State branch of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA Lagos) paid a visit to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), during which they presented gifts to the children at the Olikoye Ransome Kuti Children Emergency Ward E4.
Led by the FIDA Lagos Chairperson, Barrister Chinwe Efobi and the Chairperson of the FIDA Law Week Committee, Barrister Biola Laseinde, FIDA members, who were ten in number, proceeded to present gifts to her adopted – Ward E4.
The visit was an offshoot of the FIDA Lagos Law Week which was held last month although the visit was postponed for logistical reasons.
After briefing the Deputy Chief Medical Director, Prof. Wasiu Lanre Adeyemo (who represented the Chief Medical Director) in company of the Director of Nursing, Mrs. Oyegoke and other members of staff prior to the presentation, Barrister Efobi informed the LUTH Management on the objectives of FIDA, adding that it was the custom of FIDA Lagos to visit Ward E4 and make presentations of gifts as part of its Annual Law Week programme.
Welcoming the FIDANs, Prof. Adeyemo informed them that LUTH is a tertiary healthcare facility owned and sponsored by the Federal Government of Nigeria with support from private individuals and corporate bodies. The hospital, which has 5 Wards, is the only public hospital in Nigeria that is not connected to the national grid as it generates its own gas-powered power supply.
The Professor went on to add that LUTH has the biggest Dialysis Centre in West Africa with 92 beds, which was donated by the late Chairman of the Lions Club International, and that LUTH has the biggest Oncology Centre and ICU in West Africa, with an Oncology Ward worth N1.5 billion, which was donated by a single woman in honour of her late daughter. The Cancer Centre, Prof. Adeyemo said, was donated by NSIA, while the various Wards were renovated by various corporate organisations. Other facilities, such as the Labour Ward, Neonatal Unit, X-ray and Medical Imaging, the CETPower Project, etc, are all products of Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The Professor expressed the gratitude of the LUTH Management for FIDA’s kind gesture towards Ward E4 and urged the Federation and other public-spirited individuals and organisations to do more as government cannot do it alone.
He also took some time to advise the visitors to take their health seriously by carrying out routine medical checkups and screenings, particularly for BP, diabetes and cancer every six months to ensure early detection. He also advised them on the need for proper diet and regular exercise.
Thereafter, the Deputy Chief Medical Director and other staffers of LUTH took the FIDA members on an extensive tour of the various facilities at LUTH, after which the FIDANs proceeded to the adopted Ward E4 for the presentation of gifts where the Assistant Director, Nursing Services, Mrs C.O. Nwokolo, received the gifts on behalf of the children. The Fidans thereafter offered prayers for the quick recovery of the children who have been admitted for various ailments.
Expressing the gratitude of the children, Mrs Nwokolo urged FIDA to intervene in partnership with the LUTH Management in respect of the ongoing renovation of Ward E4 by decorating the Play Area, as well as providing a FIDA emblem to indicate its adopted status.
The visit ended with photo sessions.
On Saturday 16th July 2022, citizens of Osun State will exercise their franchise at 3,763 polling units within 332 registration area centers across the state towards electing a Governor at the off-cycle gubernatorial elections. This election marks the second election conducted following the enactment of the Electoral Act 2022 with attention hinged on the Independent National Electoral Commission (Electoral Management Body) performance in administering the polls.
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA Nigeria) has diligently observed situational happenings and pre-election incidents ahead of the elections. We have observed an upsurge in the total number of registered voters with an increase from 1.6 million at the last gubernatorial elections in 2018 to about 1.95 million presently. This indicates that more citizens are engaging in the political process and have taken advantage of the continuous voter’s registration towards ensuring that their votes count at the polls.
During the 2018 Osun Governorship Elections, a total of 48 Political Parties fielded candidates for the Governorship elections, however at the forthcoming elections, electorates will be given the option to choose from the 15 political parties fielding candidates at the polls. During our pre-election observation, which is clearly qualitative, we observed that none of these fielded candidates are neither females or persons with disabilities which has imposed some limits on the aspirations of women and persons with disabilities for the highest executive position in the state. We however appreciate the fact that six of the political parties contesting at the polls fielded women aged between 36-60 years as Deputy Governorship Candidates.
FIDA Nigeria with support from Goree Institute under the Charter Africa Project will observe the participation of women and persons with disabilities at the polls through trained citizen observers deployed across the 30 Local Government Areas of Osun State. An election monitoring tool has been developed and our approach in observation will be both qualitative and quantitative as we will leverage on partnerships with other civil society actors in documenting election incidences promoting violence against women and persons with disabilities at the polls. FIDA Nigeria citizen’s engagement will be made possible through the establishment of a situation room in Oshogbo, the Osun State Capital, and our National Secretariat where our Data Analysts will be documenting and analyzing findings from our citizen observers through the help of civic technology.
i. Securing the polls: We expect strategic deployment of security personnel across the 3,763 polling units of the state towards forestalling any form of violence at the polls which will limit the participation of women, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups. We applaud the deployment of 21,000 police personnel by the Nigeria Police which will ensure that a minimum of four police personnel are stationed in every polling unit in line with global best practices. We call on other sister agencies like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to massively deploy her personnel at the polls to checkmate violence and all forms of vote-buying that may impede the credibility of the poll. We hope to find security personnel at the polling units identified by their name tags and demonstrate non-partisanship in the discharge of their responsibilities.
ii. INEC logistical arrangements to aid priority voting for vulnerable groups: We expect early deployment of sensitive and non-sensitive election materials at the polling units as well as election officials at the commencement of polls. This will help to promote confidence in the system and improve credibility of the poll. We have observed that the Independent National Electoral Commission has religiously followed her set timetable & schedule of activities sequel to the elections which are in consonance with the dictates of the Electoral Act. We hope that the Election Management Body abides by her 2018 framework on access and participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral process and the provisions of the Disability Act of 2019 towards ensuring effective and seamless participation of persons with disabilities in the elections through the provision of magnifying glasses for persons with low vision & albinism, braille for persons with visual impairment & providing priority voting for persons with disabilities, nursing mothers, pregnant women, the aged/elderly and other vulnerable groups at the polls.
iii. High turnout of female voters: We expect that the increase in registered voters will translate to more voters especially women and persons with disabilities participation at the polls. We recall that at the 2018 gubernatorial elections only 696,007 voters representing about 43.5% of the total voting population exercised their franchise. We expect that due to an increased voters’ awareness and continuous voters registration, more women will participate actively which will transcend to an increased voters turn-out at the polls.
iv. Functionality of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System: We have observed the success of the mock accreditation system to test the functionality of the BVAS in Six Local Government Areas across the three senatorial districts of the state and hope that the system is well configured towards aiding the accreditation and voting process at the polls. FIDA Nigeria through her field observers will critically observe the functionality of this machine across the 3,763 polling units of the state.
FIDA Nigeria calls on women, persons with disabilities, and the good people of Osun State to exercise their franchise at the polls peacefully and resist any form of vote inducement and shun all forms of electoral violence. Political parties are also enjoined to conduct themselves creditably in order to promote a peaceful process.
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Amina Suzanah Agbaje (Mrs)
Country Vice /National President