A group, the Nigerian Women Trust Fund Gender and Election Watch, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to give more priority to pregnant women, nursing mothers, and persons living with disabilities in the 2023 elections.
The group said this while it observed that priority was given to these categories of persons in some polling units during the just concluded governorship election in Osun State, while others did not.
In a statement on Sunday by the Chief Executive Officer, Mufuliat Fijabi, the group noted that some polling units were also not accessible for persons with disabilities.
The statement part, “The conduct of the election with the implementation of the INEC guidelines on priority voting was observed in several polling units. Aged people, pregnant women, nursing mothers and Persons with Disabilities were given priority attention to cast their votes.
“However, at PU 001 Ward 3, Iwo LGA, there was no priority voting for pregnant and nursing mothers. Additionally, at Unit 3 Ward 1, Isaleoba Iwo LGA, there was no priority queue for the aged, PWDs, nursing mothers and pregnant women.
“Similarly, at PU 006 Ward 08, Osogbo with registered voters of 1,861, there was priority voting for PWDs, but the polling unit was not easily accessible. In addition, at Ward 2 unit 5, Iwo LGA, PWDs were attended to first before other voters. Nonetheless, some of these polling units were not accessible to the PWDs. ”
Fijabi commended INEC for being gender sensitive while selecting the
ad-hoc staff for the election.
She said, “NWTF GEW observed that the Independent National Electoral Commission had almost equal representation of young women and men as ad hoc staff. Out of the 267 ad hoc staff sighted at the polling units where observation took place, it was observed that 138 were males while 129 were females representing 52 per cent males and 48 per cent females.
“Nevertheless, NWTF GEW spotted only one PWD who was also an ad hoc Staff at Unit 004 Ward 05, Ejigbo LGA. We hereby recommend that INEC continues to sustain its inclusivity drive to reflect its policy on inclusion.”
She, however, commended women, aged and young as well as PWDs for turning out massively to exercise their franchise in the just concluded Osun poll.