Nigeria: EU Observer advises INEC on current elections

By Correspondent Chinyere Ogbonna: The EU Election Observation Mission to Nigeria has advised INEC to pay special attention to processes that would impact on the outcome of elections.

The  EU Chief Observer, Mr. AlojzPeterle, gave the advice while fielding questions at a forum with journalists in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Mr. Peterle commended INEC for a peaceful conduct of the National Assembly elections,but suggested improvements in some technical areas.

In his words “We are pleased to be able to observe that the polling booths were functional with several exceptions; the accreditation process was done generally well.

“We saw only committed people working at polling units. We are also pleased that in the majority cases we saw well-organized security forces and there are many other indicators which speak for the integrity and quality of the election process.

“We observed also some shortcomings and we spoke about them with INEC chairman and his commissioners and we think there is space for improvement even in the next election.

“What we observed were mainly technical issues which do not need special political debate.’’

The EU Chief Observer urged INEC to ensure that the remaining elections were conducted also in free and conducive environment by ensuring that all political parties and voters adhered to electoral laws.

Mr. Peterle noted that voters would only come out to exercise their rights to vote in an environment that is conducive for them to do so.

According to him, the report of the mission would be based on the observations of the one hundred and forty EU members deployed to the thirty-six states of the federation to monitor the polls.

He enjoined the electoral umpire to ensure that ballot boxes were properly sealed.

Mr. Peterle who also observed that INEC did not post results sheets on polling stations as promised before the elections, advised that the results be posted immediately after counting to enhance the transparency of the polls.

He assured that the team would maintain impartiality in its observer mission.

The EU Chief Observer stressed the need for INEC to ensure that there was no interference with the outcome of election results as any such interference would impact negatively on the electoral process.