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Election Shift: Joint IRI/NDI Urges INEC to Secure Sensitive Materials

By Eric Ojo, Abuja

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) joint international election observation mission for Nigeria’s 2019 elections has urged  the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to take sufficient steps to secure sensitive materials for postponed general elections.

The Commission suddenly postponed Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections till 23, February 2019 while the governorship and house of assembly, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) area council elections have also been shifted from 2 March to 9 March 2019.

INEC said the postponement will enable it to address the identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of Nigeria’s elections.

In its joint statement issued on the postponement of the 2019 elections, the IRI/NDI Mission said the commission should endeavour to apply lessons learned for these and future elections in Nigeria, adding that and their group will continue to support Nigeria’s democratic development.

The group further stated that it appreciates INEC’s commitment to holding credible democratic elections, adding that it is better to delay the elections than to disenfranchise voters due to logistical obstacles.

The IRI/NDI Mission also observed that the commission underestimated the challenges associated with the administration of the elections which according to them led to the postponement of the elections.

“NDI/IRI regret that INEC underestimated the challenges associated with the administration of the elections, leading to the decision to postpone them. Despite repeated assurances that logistical arrangements were in order, the Commission waited until the morning of the election to announce the delay.

“As we have done in three pre-election statements issued between July and December 2018, we urge INEC to increase transparency and to better communicate about the electoral process to build trust with the citizens of Nigeria in the coming days and weeks”, the group said.

The IRI/NDI Mission also urged  the Nigerian people to continue to remain calm and patient as the electoral process unfolds, adding that there are both challenges and opportunities in this difficult situation.

“As the continent’s largest economy and most populous nation, what happens in Nigeria has an impact across Africa and the world at large. This is a period when Nigerians across the political spectrum can unite for peaceful and successful presidential and National Assembly elections on February 23 and the gubernatorial and state House of Assembly elections on March 9”, the statement further explained.

The statement also disclosed that the NDI/IRI election observation mission delegation will remain in country for the remainder of the electoral process.

Now in its 35th year, the NDI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

Similarly, the IRI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide. IRI enables political parties to become more issue-based and responsive, helps citizens to participate in government planning, and works to increase the role of marginalized groups in the political process.


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