A Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO), the Stop-Violence Against Women in Politics (Stop-VAWIP) has called for the amendment of the Electoral Act to criminalise vote trading.
The Executive Director of Stop-VAWIP, Tumininu Adedeji, made the call at the post-election joint media briefing with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC), Ekiti Command, on Monday in Ado-Ekiti.
The two organisations reviewed Saturday’s governorship election and how women were treated before, during and after the election.
Adedeji called for the amendment of the Electoral Act to punish anyone involved in vote trading.
She maintained that the amendment would sanitise the nation’s electoral system and make more electorate to have confidence in the system.
Adedeji decried the alleged harassment and intimidation of some women by agents of some political parties to buy their votes during the election, saying such act could discourage many women from participating in future election.
“Priority voting was not given to pregnant women and nursing mothers in all polling units.
“The Electoral Act 2022 does not empower the security agencies to expressly arrest and prosecute electoral offenders.
“Women were coerced by both agents of vote-buying and selling with few cases tracked and reported, hence there is need to step up the orientation and sensitisation programme to discourage electorate from vote trading.
“There is a need to amend the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended) to fully criminalise vote trading (vote selling and buying),” she said.
She urged government agencies to intensify efforts at promoting inter-agency synergy to curb vote trading, including a service directory for election administrators and security agencies.
“Women should be encouraged and supported by government and political parties to increase their involvement in politics.
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should continue its engagement in elections in Nigeria and prosecute those arrested for vote trading to the fullest to serve as deterrent to others.
“The National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly should pass legislation that can further strengthen women’s participation in politics.
“The civil societies should also increase their collaboration with NSCDC for the purpose of creating an enabling environment for women to participate in the political process without discrimination and/or fear of intimidation,” she said.
Adedeji commended women for coming out in their numbers to exercise their franchise on Saturday.
She also commended all stakeholders in the election, including INEC, security agencies, civil society organisations, media organisations, mobilisers and coordinators, traditional leaders, political parties and the electorate for the landmark electoral success recorded in Ekiti.
Mr Tolu Afolabi, Public Relations Officer, NSCDC, Ekiti Command, said the N-alert application, the alert system devised to facilitate response to incidents of violence, was used in the state during Saturday’s governorship election.
He assured that the device would also be deployed in the Osun State governorship election scheduled for July 16.
Afolabi urged the next administration in Ekiti to sustain and consolidate on the efforts of the Ekiti Women Policy and Ekiti Youth Agenda.
He stressed the need to step up orientation and sensitisation programmes to discourage vote trading, assuring that NSCDC would continue to conduct more public enlightenment on the availability and use of the N-alert application. (NAN)