Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has commended the role played by the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) in Nigeria’s 2019 general elections, noting that every election in any democracy around the world is always a work in progress.
The INEC chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud made the commendation while receiving the final report of the EU EOM on the 2019 general elections in Abuja during the weekend.
Mahmood said the EU EOM recommendations for improving elections in Nigeria would help the commission to improve on its activities in the subsequent elections in the country.
According to the INEC boss, the observations and recommendations of the EU Election Observation Mission to the 2015 general elections were particularly useful not only in the design of some important proposals for reforming the electoral legal framework, but also in improving the electoral processes and procedures in the country.
He further disclosed yesterday in Abuja that,” One of the key recommendations was that we merge the accreditation and voting processes on Election Day, which was subsequently implemented during the Bayelsa governorship election of December 2015 and in all subsequent elections.
“The implementation of some of the other recommendations went a long way in enhancing our organisational and operational planning and strengthening our engagement with stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) yesterday commended Nigerians for their zeal and participation in the 2019 general election amidst violence and intimidation.
The EU which also stressed the need for urgent electoral reform ahead of the 2023, said violence and intimidation led to the killing of no fewer than 150 people during the last general election.
Speaking during a press conference for the release of the final report of the 2019 general elections, the EU EOM Chief Observer, Maria Arena, who said there was relatively low level of voter participation especially in the gubernatorial elections, added that there is a need for fundamental electoral reform.
“Such reform needs political leadership that is dedicated to the rights of Nigerian citizens, and an inclusive process of national dialogue involving state institutions, parties, civil society and the media.
“This needs to be urgently undertaken to allow time for debate, legislative changes and implementation in advance of the next elections,” she said.
She, however, noted that the elections were competitive, parties were able to campaign and civil society enhanced accountability.
She said the EU EOM observed that the leading parties were at fault in not preventing acts of violence and intimidation by their supporters.
According to her, out of the 30 recommendations by the mission, priorities were given to seven.
This, she said, included call to strengthen INEC procedures for the collation of results to improve integrity and confidence in electoral outcomes.