By Sinafi Omanga
A GROUP, the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accord priority voting to pregnant women, nursing mothers, the elderly and persons with disabilities (PLWDs).
The group said the Electoral Act 2022 made provisions for priority voting for those categories of voters.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Friday, February 24, the NWTF said it will monitor the performance of voters, candidates and poll officials on the election day “from a gender perspective” through the Gender and Election Watch (GEW) Room, one of its initiatives.
The Chief Executive Officer of GEW, Mufuliat Fijabi, who disclosed this at a press conference ahead of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, said: “NWTF through its use of an electronic gender-based checklist will watch and harvest critical data on the participation of women and other vulnerable groups in this election and will carry out its analysis based on the Electoral Act 2022.”
Fijabi added that the Fund has deployed 400 accredited observers across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the 2023 general elections “to observe and assess how all elements of the election process impact all stakeholders from a gender perspective”.
While calling on INEC poll officials to demonstrate fairness, maintain professionalism and due process in the discharge of duties, NWTF said the electoral umpire has so far shown readiness to conduct the 2023 polls.
“We urge INEC to maintain its statutory level of preparedness and ensure early opening of polls.
“The GEW Room witnessed the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) during the last mock accreditation exercise by INEC with remarkable success and expects that the functionality at the upcoming pols will be optimal”, parts of the statement read.
Fijabi called on all electorates, especially women to come out “in their numbers to vote for leaders who will drive an inclusive democratic practice”.