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 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 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
FIDA Osun State paid a courtesy visit to the wife of the Executive Governor of Osun State Her Excellency Mrs. Kafayat Olaitan Oyetola in Commemoration of the International Women’s Day.