Post Election Press Statement on the Conduct of the 2023 Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly Elections - Women Fund
The Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund (NWTF) is a gender focus NGO created to increase the representation of women in Nigerian governance at all levels and address the growing concerns about the gender imbalance in elective and appointive positions.
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Post Election Press Statement on the Conduct of the 2023 Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly Elections

Post Election Press Statement on the Conduct of the 2023 Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly Elections

20 March 2023



As a follow up to the Nigerian Women Trust Fund Gender and Election Watch (GEW), Room deployment of 350 accredited observers across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria to observe the Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly Elections from a Gender perspective in Adamawa, Kano, Lagos, Oyo and Rivers and the State House of Assembly elections in Anambra and Kogi, GEW wishes to observe as follows:


  1. Conduct of Polls: GEW observes that the polls were mostly peaceful in all the states where observation took place except in Lagos, Kano, and Rivers where there were reported cases of violence and destruction of poll materials which in turn impacted on the turn of women and their participation in the polls. GEW also observed INEC conduct of Polls.
  2. Opening of Polls – The opening of polls was on time during the gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections compared to the 25 February 2023 Presidential and General Assembly elections. Over 70 percent of polls observed opened before 9am. However, there were some instances of late opening of polls. For example, in Rivers, PU 32-07-08-006, School Hall Green Iwoma II, INEC officials experienced logistic challenges due to low tide of the river, this resulted in the late opening of this polling unit.
  3. Violence and disruption of polls in Rivers, Adamawa, Lagos, and Kano – GEW observers reported that the situation, was mostly calm at the start of polls, but as accreditation and voting progressed the situation deteriorated in places like:

Lagos: PU 24-18-11-003 Oke Afa Isolo, Ejigbo Bestford Junction, this polling unit was attacked by thugs three times, who attempted to disrupt voting by upturning the ballot boxes and voter inducement, there was response by security officials after the first two attacks, but no response on the third and final attack.

Rivers: Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic PU 17 Rumuokwuta 18 B, party agents threatened the life of an NWTF observer and proceeded to seize his tag, he was helped to safety by an INEC official.

Kano: Tarauni LGA, Darmanawa ward, PU 01 some party agents caused disruption which led to ballot boxes being destroyed because some ballot papers seemed to have been used previously.

Adamawa: Bekaji Roundabout Jimeta, Yola North, a political protest was organized with security operatives firing teargas to dispel the crowd on 20 March 2023 on delayed announcement of the results of the gubernatorial election.


  1. Voter Apathy – GEW observers reported low turnout of both men and women in the 18 March 2023 elections as most voters stayed away from the Polling units because of the perceived atmosphere of insecurity. In some States, NWTF GEW observed that women turnout was lower compared to the already low turnout recorded in the last presidential election. In Lagos, the Oro traditional festival in some parts contributed to voter apathy. However, in some states, a sizeable number of women came out to participate in the elections:
  2. Kogi— PU 004, Nkwogbe primary school 1 Ogbolo ward the turn-out of women was encouraging.
  3. Oyo—High turn-out of female voters, especially elderly women at Ibadan Northwest, ward 4, PU 04.
  4. Priority voting – In most states where GEW observed, there were no queues and priority voting was not observed because of the low turnout of voters,


  1. Delayed and uncertainty around the results of Adamawa Gubernatorial Elections: GEW observers noted with great concerns the delayed announcement of the results of the Adamawa Gubernatorial Elections especially because it is keenly contested with a female candidate. This is also not encouraging for women who contest for political positions and a negative indication for inclusive democratic practice which Nigeria should aim at.


  1. Intimidation of GEW observers – That some GEW observers were intimidated by security personnel and party agents in some of the Polling Units. One example was at the Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Rumuokwuta PU 18 B.


  1. Security situation – That generally the security situation during the 18 March 2023 elections was not as good as the 25 February 2023 elections. According to the GEW observers, there were security breaches which could have been avoided with intense security action and coordination.


GEW Recommends as follows:

  1. That the level of preparedness and conduct of polls by INEC should be commended as there was significant improvement with regards to logistics and opening of polls.
  2. That the incitement of violence, disruption of polls and burning of poll materials is unacceptable. GEW calls for more accountability, arrest, and prosecution of electoral offenders.
  3. That INEC should hold its partners in the planning and conduct of elections accountable for failure to deliver on their agreement
  4. That the trend of incumbent governors banning NGO observers is a bad practice that should not be encouraged especially when INEC has issued accreditation to NGOs to observe elections and a definitive legal statement by INEC must be issued to stop future reoccurrence.
  5. That with voter apathy, democracy is gradually becoming a product of only a few who turn out on election day to elect their representatives. All electoral stakeholders should pay attention to this and work together to reduce drastically voter apathy in future elections.
  6. That all female candidates in the 2023 General election are highly commended for their resilience and participation.
  7. GEW calls on all stakeholders to uphold the rights of females’ candidates in the 2023 General elections and condemns all efforts and attempts to truncate the emergence of female candidates in the 2023 general elections. Nigeria cannot achieve inclusive democracy without female participation.
  8. That the intimidation of any observer in an election is not consistent with democratic values and should henceforth stop.
  9. That security agencies need to do more to maintain peace and protect the lives of all in an election process. Hitch free, peaceful, and successful election is a product of improved security operations management.


GEW Hotlines:




Mufuliat Fijabi

Chief Executive Officer

For Gender and Election Watch (GEW) Room

of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF).



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