The Gender and Election Watch (GEW) Room, an initiative of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), has expressed worry over violence faced by female candidates and the electorate, during last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Mufuliat Fijabi, Chief Executive Officer of NWTF, during a post-election press briefing Wednesday in Abuja, on the conduct of the elections, said it deployed 400 accredited observers across seven states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The states were Adamawa, Kogi, Kano, Lagos, Oyo, Rivers, and Anambra which spread across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
On participation, Fijabi said the turnout of women needed continuous improvement.
“The participation of women as voters, poll officials and candidates are highly commendable. Women are resilient and committed to a truly democratic process although the turnout of women needs to continue to improve.
“We are also worried at the kind of violence experienced by some female candidates and the electorate and condemn it in very strong terms while calling upon relevant security agencies to take action to forestall future occurrence,” she said.
GEW Recommended as follows:
“Nigeria’s electoral process obviously needs improvement. Every electoral stakeholder should take lessons from the elections for future policy making and programming and from a gender inclusion perspective.
“Women’s participation in the democratic process of Nigeria is critical to achieving a truly inclusive democratic process. Women need to improve on their turn out in numbers and continue to be resilient.
“Participation of women as candidates in elections is a result of very long years of advocacy. GEW commends all the female candidates in these elections and recommends stringent security measures to protect female candidates in elections and the full application of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, (2015) on all perpetrators of acts of violence.
“Security should continue to comply with the requirements of the law on elections and uphold it to record zero intimidation of voters on election day. Women need to be assured of their safety during elections.
“The priority voting has remained valuable and should continue to be publicized and utilized to address the needs of vulnerable female voters – elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers and women with disabilities.
“While commending technological innovations in elections, thorough testing is a necessity before affirmation to avoid irregularities that could mar an entire electoral process.”