The Women’s Situation Room Nigeria (WSRN) after successfully implementing its activities in the South South zone of the nation, Edo state, during the gubernatorial election in September 2016 proceeded to replicate the process in the South West geopolitical zone, Ondo state. The South West zone led by the zonal coordinator, Bukola Ilemobola Ademola-Adelehin and the National coordinator, Joy Onyesoh launched WSRN in Akure, Ondo state with series of activities including advocacy visits to critical stakeholders and partners in Ondo state including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ondo State, and the Commissioner of Police, The Nigeria Police, Ondo State Command.
Prior to the setting up of the Women’s Situation Room Nigeria in Ondo state a jingle was aired a week earlier which ran till the end of the elections on the state’s popular radio station, Adaba FM 88.9MHz. This broadcast was a call to action for women of all groups ranging from the grass roots to the grass tops to come out en mass to cast their vote and also report any cases of conflict or violence around them before, during and after the election via the WSRN TOLL FREE NUMBER 0-800-3425-9776.
The physical women’s situation room was set up on the 25th of November 2016 at Bliss World Hotel, Ondo State in order to monitor the election process for the state. The training of the women observers which preceded the media briefing was coordinated by the Ondo state coordinator, OluwakemiAfelumo and WSRN staff. However, the media briefings officially launched open the women situation room which had in attendance the following: the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Positive FM and Adaba FM, trained women field observers, and the staff of the WSRN. Sola Odeja, media consultant for the Women Situation Room Nigeria (WSRN) facilitated the briefing exercise, while the Ondo state coordinator gave an overview of the whole election monitoring process and presented the briefing.
The Women Situation Room came alive in the wee hours of the morning on 26th November 2016, the Election Day. Calls streaming in had to do with various issues such as, non-functionality of card readers, lack or not enough security officials and women participation. The team on the situation room discretionally directed the specific issues to the appropriate office of the INEC and Police as required. These officials in turn promptly attended to notified issues as feedback from the women observers confirmed resolution.The situation room was buzzing with activities as election observers as well as voters could call in on the happenings at the various polling units on our TOLL FREE NUMBER 0-800-3425-9776 and also send pictures to our mobile app WSRN CONNECT which were also uploaded on the WILPF Nigeria and WSRN Face book page in order to stir up conversations as well as keep the masses informed.
The Ondo elections had a total of nine female contestants, where four were governorship candidates with male as their running mates, and five ran as deputy governors. Twenty-eight parties in all presented candidates for the Ondo elections but the major amongst were; People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alliance for Democracy (AD), All Progressive Congress (APC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP). Of these parties, only SDP had a female deputy governor as a running mate. The turnout of voters were 35% of the population of registered voters of which Olurotimi Akeredolu of All Progressive Congress emerged and was declared the winner of the gubernatorial elections by INEC with a total vote of 244,842 as against the other contestants: Eyitayo Jegede of PDP with 150,380, Olusola Oke of AD with 126,889 and Olu Agunloye of SDP with 10,147 votes. Amongst all female contestants, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) party governorship candidate had the highest vote of 4,872. (Data and Results sourced from INEC).