2023: INEC invites observers from international community

INEC, candidates

By Tunde Opalana

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has sent out letters of a invitation to observers from the international community ahead of the 2023 general election.

This is as the Commission acknowledged that involvement of foreign observers gives credence to elections in the country.

Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the disclosure Monday at closure of Phase I and launch of Phase II of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU- SDGN) in Abuja.

Yakubu said the Commission will continue to welcome the deployment international and domestic election observers in line with INEC guidelines.

He said: “The Commission considers the deployment of such election observation missions as a means of enhancing public confidence and trust in Nigeria’s elections. Their recommendations have been especially useful in reviewing our processes and the introduction of some of the progressive reforms in our electoral legal framework in line with global good practices.

“To this end, the Commission has already sent out letters to such international organisations such as the United Nations, European Union, Commonwealth, the African Union and ECOWAS inviting them to deploy observation missions for the 2023 General Election.

“Very soon, advertisement will be placed in national newspapers and the Commission’s website to invite applications from interested domestic organisations to observe the same election.”

The Commission appreciated the support of international development partners to “enhance training and capacity building of officials; stakeholder engagement for peaceful election; production and dissemination of messages for voter education and sensitisation; enhancing the active and meaningful participation of all segments of society in the electoral process with particular reference to women, youth, Persons with Disability (PWD) and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs); and, finally, election conflict mitigation, management and resolution.”

Yakubu said INEC was a key beneficiary of the first phase of the EU-SDGN Programme conceived under the National Indicative Programme 2014 – 2020. Under the Programme implemented by the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), adding that the Commission received various support mainly in the areas of training and capacity building for our staff, engagement with stakeholders, voter education and public enlightenment and the promotion of inclusivity.

The support, he said went a long way to complement the Commission’s efforts at strengthening the organisational and planning capacity, improvement of its internal and external communication, more frequent consultation with stakeholders and advocacy for increased participation in the electoral process.

He said “the combination of these actions and activities not only enhanced public confidence in the Commission, but also provided valuable assistance in strengthening the integrity and credibility of the electoral process. A major achievement in this regard is the progressive provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, especially the deployment of technology for voter accreditation and result management at polling unit level

The chairman promised that Commission will continue to work with the EU, its development partners and all electoral stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the electoral reforms in order to protect the integrity and guarantee the credibility of election outcomes based on the rule of law and the will of the electorate.

“I wish to reassure you that the Commission will work together with the consortium of partners to implement the support to the INEC component of the EU-SDGN II. We will also continue to create the enabling environment to facilitate the work of the partners for the successful implementation of the programme”, he said.

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