UNODC congratulates Step Up Nigeria on the Launch of Halima’s Vote – the Movie

Abuja 3 June 2021: Today Step Up Nigeria launched Halima’s Vote – The Movie, the fictional story of a courageous Nigerian woman who stands up for her rights and the rights of her community against the attempts of a corrupt politician to buy their votes. The movie which is based on a book by Onyinye Ough, Executive Director and founder of Step Up Nigeria, has been produced by Basement Studios with the support of MacArthur Foundation.

The launch provided also an opportunity to recall the findings of the 2nd National Corruption Survey published by the National Bureau of Statistics and UNODC which also contained for the very first-time data on the scope of vote-buying in Nigeria. As it turned out, in 2019 21 percent of Nigerians had been offered money or another favor in exchange for their vote on the occasion of the last national or state election in which they had participated. Moreover, a total of 86% of all respondents considered electoral fraud as very or fairly frequent.

The launch event also featured an all-female panel composed of Idayat Hassan, Centre for Democracy & Devdelopment, Aisha Yesufu, Co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls movement, Oiza Nicholson, Country Director, Palladium Nigeria, Chioma Agwuegbo, Executive Director, TechHerNG and Dr. Agodi Alagbe, Founder, CTL Academ. The discussion centered on the role of women and girls in tackling corruption and bad governance, a key question raised also by the UNODC Gender and Corruption study published in 2020 with the support of the Governments of the UK and Sweden. The report found dramatic differences between women and men in terms of their involvement in as well as in terms of the impact of corruption on them. Not only, were women found to be considerably less likely to pay bribes, but more notably, female law enforcement officers, teachers, doctors, judges, prosecutors, nurses and other public officials were comparatively less likely to demand and accept bribes than their male peers.

Speaking at the launch UNODC Representative Oliver Stolpe said: “Indeed, the data is so overwhelmingly consistent that it forces us to think far more creatively how to integrate the governance, gender-equality and anti-corruption agendas for improved results. We sincerely hope, that Halima’s resistance to vote-buying (in comparison to her husband) and her bold actions in protecting her community can serve as a powerful inspiration.”

Commenting on the film, the Executive Director and founder of Step Up Nigeria, Onyinye Ough said: “One key message we want to pass through Halima’s Vote is that anyone can make a difference particularly woman and girls. You do not have to be a politician, a celebrity or work in an NGO to make a difference. One way that citizens can make a difference is to use their votes wisely and to hold their leaders to account.”