Nigeria Decides: Election observers speak, make recommendations

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Two election observer groups have called on the Federal Government to fully implement the recommendations of the Mohammed Uwais and Ken Nnamani led political reform committees to check electoral fraud.

The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) made the call on Monday in Abuja in their preliminary report on the March 9 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.

Dr Chris Fomunyoh, Senior Associate and Regional Director, NDI, at a news conference, said the call became imperative in order to create appropriate institutions to assist in elections.

“We urge the government of Nigeria to expedite the adoption of comprehensive electoral reforms in order to lay the groundwork for an improved electoral framework.

“Implement fully and expeditiously the recommendations of Nigerian-led reforms initiatives such as the Uwais 2008 and the Nnamani Committee 2017.

“This is to create appropriate institutions to oversee political parties and prosecute electoral offences, responsibilities that currently impede INEC’s focus on election administration,” he said.

Fomunyoh said that there was also a need to investigate the actions of the military and hold accountable those who violated the electoral and other laws.

He called on the National Assembly to undertake and pass amendments to the election laws that address the challenges and lessons learned from the 2019 elections.

He also urged NASS to prioritise legislation that would promote women.

Earlier, Mr John Tomaszeski, African Regional Director, IRI, said that the organisations monitored the elections and noticed that it was marred by irregularities, instances of intimation, vote buying and violence.

Tomaszeski said that the delegation was also informed of the loss of lives as a result of election-day violence.

He said that the mission deplored the losses and expressed its deepest condolences to the bereaved and the people of Nigeria.

He said that these actions and impunity with which some actors conducted themselves, including the military, undermined citizen confidence in elections and threatened the legitimacy of Nigeria’s democracy.

He called on Nigerians to claim, protect and defend their democracy and respect the rights of fellow citizens to participate in the political process.

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