Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund Calls for Action Against Electoral Offences
The Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) has called on the authorities to take action against individuals who have committed various electoral offenses during the recently concluded gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections across Nigeria. In a statement issued by the organization’s Gender and Election Watch (GEW), NWTF’s CEO, Mufuliat Fijabi, explained that electoral malpractices such as inciting violence, disrupting polls, and burning poll materials are inconsistent with democratic values and must be stopped. GEW also praised all female candidates for their resilience and participation in the 2023 General Election but expressed concerns over the delayed announcement of the results of the Adamawa gubernatorial elections, which is keenly contested by a woman.
NWTF recommended several measures to prevent electoral malpractices from happening in the future. Among these measures, the organization called for more accountability, arrests, and prosecution of electoral offenders who incite violence, disrupt polls, and burn poll materials. NWTF also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to hold its partners accountable for failing to deliver on their agreements. The organization decried the trend of incumbent governors banning NGO observers, which should not be encouraged, especially when INEC has issued accreditation to NGOs to observe elections. Furthermore, NWTF called for a definitive legal statement by INEC to stop future reoccurrence.
In light of voter apathy, NWTF called on all electoral stakeholders to work together to reduce voter apathy in future elections, stating that democracy is gradually becoming a product of only a few who turn out on election day to elect their representatives. NWTF also emphasized the need for all stakeholders to uphold the rights of female candidates in the 2023 General Election and condemned all efforts and attempts to truncate the emergence of female candidates in the upcoming election. The organization maintained that Nigeria cannot achieve inclusive democracy without female participation.
Finally, NWTF urged an end to the intimidation of any observer during an election process, stating that it is inconsistent with democratic values. The organization also called on security agencies to do more to maintain peace and protect the lives of all individuals involved in an election process, as hitch-free, peaceful, and successful elections are a product of improved security operations management.
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