In its final report on the most recent general elections in Nigeria, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) highlighted six areas as priorities on Tuesday.
At a press conference in Abuja, the mission’s Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, presented the report, which includes 25 recommendations.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s electoral agency, organized the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25 and the governorship and state houses of assembly elections on March 18.
On April 15, supplementary elections were held in a few seats around the nation.
On the invitation of INEC, the EU EOM worked between 11 January and 11 April.
In order to observe the presidential and National Assembly elections, a team from the European Parliament joined the EU EOM.
110 observers from 25 EU Member States, as well as Norway, Switzerland, and Canada, were credentialed by the mission.
Mr. Andrews, who presented the assessment, stated: “We are particularly concerned about the need for reform in six areas which we have identified as priority recommendations, and we believe, if implemented, could contribute to improvements for the conduct of elections.”
He listed them as clearing up legal issues, creating a transparent selection procedure for INEC members, and assuring real-time publishing and accessibility of election results.
Others include enhancing media professionals’ protection, combating gender discrimination in politics, and eliminating impunity for electoral offenses.
Although the most recent elections demonstrated Nigerians’ commitment to democracy, they also revealed persisting structural flaws, Mr. Andrews remarked. As a result, more legislative and operational changes are required to improve openness, inclusivity, and accountability.
He continued by saying that legal and electoral management flaws made it difficult to hold fair elections that included everyone and weakened public confidence in INEC.
He asserted that the EU is prepared to assist Nigeria in putting its suggestions into reality and that political will is essential to attaining enhanced democratic processes in Nigeria.
Additionally, it offered some suggestions.
Eliminating ambiguities in the law: Protect the interests of voters by ensuring that the law is clear for all phases and aspects of electoral processes. To do this, electoral law and regulations must be free of errors and ambiguities in order to prevent the possibility of conflicting interpretations.
establishing an openly transparent procedure for choosing INEC members Establish an inclusive and publicly accountable process for choosing candidates for the positions of INEC commissioners and RECs based on precise standards for evaluating candidates’ qualifications, merits, and verified nonpartisanship. This will create a strong operational framework for the independence, integrity, and efficiency of electoral administration.
ensuring the access to and real-time publication of election results: Establishing a strong, open, and readily verifiable results processing system with defined standards will protect the free expression of the voter’s will and the integrity of elections. These include publishing all forms in an easily trackable and scrapable database format, posting polling unit results from the polling unit solely and in real time, and uploading results forms in real time for each level of collation.
Increasing media professionals’ protection: Create a thorough operational structure that is supported by the abilities and resources necessary to ensure quick investigation and prosecution of any assaults on media professionals in order to provide appropriate protection for freedom of speech.
In order to address discrimination against women in political life, urgent and strong affirmative action must be taken. Special measures must be taken in accordance with the Beijing Principles and the National Gender Policy to increase the representation of women as candidates and in elected office. Cross-sector, intensified, and sustained capacity building and sensitization to end discrimination must also be supported.
Getting rid of impunity for electoral offenses requires strong, well-defined interagency coordination governed by unambiguous nonpartisanship rules, resource optimization, effective investigation and sanctioning, and regular public dissemination of consolidated information on results.
reliability of polls
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Bola Tinubu won the election, which was perhaps the most contested in recent memory. On May 29, he took office as president.
The two other candidates, Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are contesting the election in court.
At the subnational level, several candidates are also contesting the exercise.