….Condemns few disturbing incidents of vote trading across 8.6% of the polling units visited
By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – FIDA Nigeria has observed that the Bimodal Voter’s Accreditation System (BVAS) was highly functional in 94.3% of polling units visited by their observers, which it said, aided accreditation and the voting process in the governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
It also sadly highlighted that 5.7% of the polling units observed experienced technical difficulty which limited women participation. Adding that in 2.9% of the polling units, women were discouraged and went home. For example at Polling unit 11, Gwantu ward, Sanga LGA, and polling unit 02, ward 4, Kachia LGA, domiciled in Kaduna state, witnessed elections commencing late due to malfunctioning of the BVAS.
Similarly, the women group outrightly condemned few disturbing incidents of vote trading observed across 8.6% of the polling units within its purview.
The Country Vice President/National President, Mrs Amina Agbaje stated this, among other issues, today (Saturday) during FIDA preliminary statement on the governorship and state House of Assembly elections, especially as it relates to women participation.
The statement reads in full:
FIDA NIGERIA PRELIMINARY STATEMENT ON THE
GOVERNORSHIP & STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS AS IT RELATES TO WOMEN PARTISCIPATION.
FIDA Nigeria through her situation room situated at Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja, the Nigeria Capital respectively is observing the participation of women and forms of violence perpetrated against women across four focal states of our intervention mainly Borno, Plateau, Kaduna and Kwara states.
FIDA Nigeria with support from UNWomen and the Government of Canada under Advance Women Political Participation Project has observed the
participation of women and forms of violence perpetrated against women in the 2023 General Elections through 77 INEC accredited observers deployed across 66 polling units in the aforementioned four focal states.
An election observation tool was administered by our accredited observers at their respective polling units while leveraging on partnerships with other civil society actors in observing, documenting, and reporting women participation and incidences of violence perpetrated against women. FIDA Nigeria continues to closely watch the process across sixty-six Local Government Areas under our observatory process until it is concluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).The following issues are highlighted as part of our preliminary
2.1. Commencement of Polls
Reports across the polling units across our focal states observed indicate that election materials arrived at polling units observed between the hours of 8:30 -9:30am. 81.4 % of the polling units had the election materials before 8.30am, 10% by 9.00am and 8.6% later than 9:30am. For instance at Polling unit 002, ward 04, Kachia LGA, Kaduna State, Electoral Officials arrived as early as 7.40am with
Similarly, at polling unit 012, ward 02, Kagarko LGA, Kaduna state electoral officials arrived at 7.58am. In Plateau state, INEC Officials arrived polling unit 001, taagbe ward, Bassa LGA at 7.25am, At polling unit 008, ward 02, Dalori primary school, Konduga LGA, Borno state, electoral materials arrived at 8.04am, while at polling unit 008, ward 01, Damboa LGA, INEC officials were sighted at 8.30am.
We witnessed early arrivals of electoral officials in Kwara State. For example in polling unit 006, ward 02, Kaima LGA and polling unit 007, ward 07, Ilorin West LGA, these officials were seen at 7.40am and 7.57am respectively
2.2. Mainstreaming of Female Electoral Officials
We observed that 51.4% polling units under our observatory had above two female electoral officials, 32.9% less than 2 female electoral officials, while 15.7% had no female electoral officials.
- Security Related Observations
We observed that only 14.3% of the polling units visited had more than 4 security personnel, 20% had 3 security personnel, 45.7% had 2 security personnel, while 20% had either one or no security presence at the polling units. Females were
observed not fully mainstreamed by relevant security agencies in the polling units visited. Statistics from the field indicate that no female security official was seen in 52.9%, 30% of the polling unit had less than two female security personnel, while only 17.1% had above 2 female security officials. Furthermore, security personnel
were found armed at polling units in about 7.1% of the polling units observed, however, in 92.9%, security personnel were not armed. In 90% of the polling units, women felt very secure in the polling units, while women in 10% of the polling units, experienced some level of insecurity. For example at
polling unit 008, ward 02, Dalori primary school, Konduga LGA, Borno state, we witnessed the presence of one security personnel manning the polling unit. Similar occurrence was witnessed at Polling unit 002, ward 04, Kachia LGA, Kaduna
State where only one security personnel was observed present. However at polling unit 108, ward 13, MMC, a good number of security personnel were observed securing the polls. In 90% of polling units observed, there were no issues of physical
confrontation between female election officials, agents and observers.
2.4. Partiality of Electoral & Security Personnel
In 74.3% of our polling units, electoral and security personnel were observed to demonstrate some level of impartiality, however there were some concerns of the level of partiality in about 22.9% of polling units visited.
2.5. Turnout of Female Voters:
FIDA Nigeria observed turnout of female voters in about 57.2% of the polling units observed. This is comparatively low compared to the Presidential/National Assembly Elections where we experienced a turnout of women amounting to
66.2%. For instance at polling unit 004, ward 05, Jos South, Plateau State, very few women were observed exercising their franchise. Similar incidences occurred at polling unit 027, tudun-wada , Zaria LGA, Kaduna State and polling unit 006, ward
02, Kaiama LGA, Kwara State.
2.6. Under-Aged Female Voters
In 97.1% of the polling units visited, we observed no incidence of underage voting by Females, while these same percentile were able to find their names on the voters register.
2.7. Priority Voting for Women from Marginalized/Vulnerable groups
FIDA Nigeria observes that women with disabilities, the elderly/Aged, pregnant women and Nursing mothers were prioritized in the voting process by INEC Adhoc Officials. Our Observers reported that in about 94.3% of the polling units, priority voting occurred, however in 5.7% of the polling units, these groups were compelled to join existing queues towards exercising their franchise.
For instance at Polling Unit 003, Airforce Primary school , ward 6, Jos South LGA , Plateau State and polling unit 05, ward 11, Riyom LGA , Plateau state, priority voting was enforced. Similarly at polling unit 090, Naraguta, Jos North LGA , only aged women were prioritized. At polling unit 10, ward 21, MMC, Borno State aged women and women with disabilities were prioritized. Same occurrence was
witnessed at polling unit 004, ward 07, Ilorin west LGA, Kwara State.
2.8. Existence of Separate Queues for Women
In 84.3% of the polling units visited, we observed that INEC ensured that separate queues were created for women to exercise their franchise. However such were not existent in 15.7% of the polling units visited as INEC made no provisions,
neither were no forms of enforcement by security agencies. In polling unit 001, LGEA Primary school, ward 02, Ifelodun LGA, Kwara State, separate queues were observed being enforced. Similar occurrence were observed at polling unit 3, ward 2, Kaura LGA, polling unit 21, ward 18, Sabon-Gari LGA, and polling unit 01, ward 7, Zaria LGA all in Kaduna state. Furthermore, separate queues were observed at
polling unit 008, ward 2, Isin LGA, Kwara State and polling unit 008, ward 02, Dalori primary school, Konduga LGA, Borno state.
2.9. 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. In 94.3% of polling units visited, the BVAS Machine was highly functional, however in 5.7% of the polling units observed experienced technical difficulty which limited women participation. However in 2.9% of the polling units, women were discouraged and went home. For example at Polling unit 11, Gwantu ward, Sanga LGA, and polling unit 02, ward 4, Kachia
LGA, domiciled in Kaduna state, witnessed elections commencing late due to malfunctioning of the BVAS. From our observations, there were no incidences of ballot box snatching or destruction by thugs.
2.9.1. Vote Trading:
FIDA Nigeria observed few disturbing incidents of vote trading across 8.6% of the polling units. However, 91.4% witnessed no incidences of vote trading in the polling units. At polling unit 027, tudun wada, Zaria LGA, women were observed been
induced by party agents towards swaying their votes for a particular party with the sum of N1, 000.
84.3% of female party agents and politicians were found perpetuating vote buying.
At polling unit 21, ward 18, Sabon-gari LGA, Kaduna state, women were observed obtaining food items towards swaying their votes to a leading party. At polling unit 004, ward 7, Ilorin West LGA, Kwara State, female voters were persuaded to vote
for another party with the promise of a bank transfer after voting. At polling unit 11, Hayin Mahuta Ward, GIwa LGA, Kaduna state, a leading political party was observed disbursing funds to women. At polling unit 009, community secondary school, Irepodun LGA, Kwara state, women were being induced to vote for a particular party with undisclosed sum of money, food and drinks. Similarly at polling
unit 001, ward 04, Ekiti LGA, women were observed being swayed with food items. We will continually update the media as we receive further information from our deployed observers.
FIDA Nigeria will continue to observe the elections and later issue her postelection statement to detail more on the overall participations of women and
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Amina Agbaje (Mrs)
Country Vice President/National President