REPORT ON NIGERIA’S ELECTIONS BY THE WIMAGE ELECTIONS OBSERVER AND MONITORING TEAM, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE GLOBAL PEACE MOVEMENT INTERNATIONAL OF THE UK
April 11, 2023,
By Ambassador Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu
Public Relations Officer, WIMAGE.
The United States-based international elections observer and monitoring team —WIMAGE ( Women in Monitoring and Auditing Global Elections )—–in collaboration with the United Kingdom-based Global Peace Movement International ( GPM ) —have released their report on the Presidential Elections held in Nigeria on February 25, 2023.
In its continued determination to develop more international capacity and outreach, WIMAGE collaborated this time with the Global Peace Movement to audit, monitor and observe the Nigeria Presidential Elections.
The Global Peace movement, according to its mission statement, “is a non-government, non-political, non-sectarian, non-profit voluntary citizen organization. Its objective is to make peace and also act as a facilitator to create a mutual understanding in all crisis situation within national societies and among members of the international Community. The Global Peace Movement is endowed with a formidable team of qualified and experienced members in the area of peacemaking, crisis management, crisis point intervention/conflict resolution, human rights advocacy, and the creation of the enabling environment for negotiation and peace.”
The collaboration between the two international elections observer teams ensured a more efficient monitoring experience that enhanced the credibility and thoroughness of the process.
The Government of Nigeria, recognizing the vital role played by international monitoring and observer teams, released the following statement of appreciation, after the elections:
“The Federal Government expresses appreciation to the international community, civil society organizations, and other development partners for their support and deployment of various high-level observation missions to Nigeria for the presidential and parliamentary elections that took place on February 25, 2023.
“The conduct of the largely peaceful polls is a pointer to Nigeria’s commitment to promoting good governance and democratic principles. Nigeria counts on the continued goodwill of the international community, as the government works towards consolidating democracy in the country.
“In this regard, the invaluable support of all and sundry will contribute immensely to the promotion of democratic process in Nigeria, particularly as the country heads towards the governorship and state Assembly elections on March 11.”
According to the Independent Elections Commission of Nigeria ( INEC ), the presidential election was won by Mr. Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress ( APC). INEC reported that Tinubu won with a total of 8,794,726 votes, defeating his major rivals; Atiku Abubakar of the People Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 6,984,520 votes; Peter Obi of the Labour Party who got 6,101,533 votes and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), who secured 1,496,687 votes.
Other international elections observer and monitoring teams on the ground in Nigeria included the Commonwealth Observer Group; European Union ( EU), The African Union ( AU) observation mission; the ECOWAS Mission; the Independent Foreign Observers Mission; Chatham House; the Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) (who constituted The Joint Election Observation Mission (JEOM); etc.
With regards to WIMAGE, our engagement, and operations with countries whose elections we observe, transcend the barriers of mere elections observation and monitoring. More significantly, we actively engage local women, Civil Society Organizations, the Government, the Media, and other stakeholders to prepare and propose a plan for the development and creation of the Global Agenda Of Women Project Action Plan that will be implemented in the country by the civil society organization networks. This is known as the GAOW Project Action Plan, which has also been implemented in Kenya where we also observed and monitored the presidential elections last year.
Through deep and sustained consultative meetings with the stakeholders, WIMAGE will develop a GAOW Project Action Plan in every country that will explore the possibility of raising the number of women participating in political leadership and
governance in future elections.
HERE IS THE WIMAGE/GPM REPORT ON THE NIGERIA ELECTIONS
The mission of Women in Monitoring & Auditing Global Elections is to: Never waiver from our basic ideas, values, and goals in campaigning for free fair gender-based elections. In line with this mission, WIMAGE engaged in a bi-partisan engagement with Global Peace Movement International, a UK-based civil society organization to monitor and observe the presidential election in Nigeria which was held on the 25th of February 2023. The coalition was accredited to monitor and observe the General Elections in Nigeria by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria.
In pursuance of this established mandate, WIMAGE and GPM deployed a team of Independent observers on the ground to observe, monitor and evaluate the degree of participation and policies put in place by the INEC to facilitate and promote more women in the electoral and political environment in the country.
In consequence, therefore, WIMAGE in collaboration with GPM makes the following observation and remarks on the conduct of the Nigeria general Election.
Generally, it was noted that in the polling centers, there was a notable number of women participants: Voters, party Agents, INEC officials, Police officers, and other observers.
It was observed that before the elections, INEC directed the lists should be pasted at polling units. But there were reports from some polling units that fake lists were pasted to disenfranchise some voters in some regions.
The way the voters’ polling units were transferred to other new or existing ones, many voters were disenfranchised as they got tired of searching for their names.
That in many polling units, INEC officials showed up earliest by 10 am, others at 12 noon, 2 pm, and in other places did not show up at all. In some cases, some showed up with incomplete materials and other materials meant for other locations.
In most defense responses from the INEC officials, the hiccups were blamed on the current scarcities of cash and fuel.
There were slight reports of violence in many parts across the nation, notably in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Edo, Delta, Uyo, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Kogi states where people lost their lives.
GAOW Project Action Plan:
WIMAGE in collaboration with GPM is in active engagement with local women, Civil Society Organizations, the Government, Media, and other stakeholders to prepare and propose a plan for the development and creation of the Global Agenda Of Women Action Plan that will be implemented in the country by the civil society organization networks. The GAOW Project Action plan will include affirmative actions that will ensure that the country achieves greater milestones when it comes to women’s inclusion in electoral processes and governance.
Based on the observation made by the bipartisan partnership between WIMAGE and GPM, we make the following recommendation to the INEC and the Nigerian Government at large.
- INEC should strictly adhere to the directives it has issued before the elections and ensure that all voter lists are posted in the polling units.
- INEC should provide adequate and timely resources such as cash and fuel to facilitate the smooth running of the elections.
- INEC should increase the number of its officials in the polling units and ensure they arrive early with all the necessary materials.
- INEC should ensure that all ballot boxes are properly sealed and secured at all times, and should deploy adequate security personnel to each polling unit to prevent any form of violence or intimidation.
- INEC should ensure that all votes are properly counted and that results are accurately tabulated and announced.
- INEC should ensure that the electoral process is free, fair, and transparent by providing timely and accurate information to the public about the progress and status of the elections.
In conclusion, it can be seen that the Nigerian general election was largely successful, with a notable increase in the number of women participating in the electoral process.
However, some issues need to be addressed, such as the posting of fake voter lists, inadequate resources, and reports of violence, in order to ensure that the next general election is conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner. With the right policies, resources, and security in place, Nigeria can continue to hold successful elections that promote gender equality and enable all citizens to exercise their right to vote.