Kogi, Bayelsa polls, test for EU, IRI/NDI reports – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is set to implement aspects of local and foreign observers’ recommendations on the 2019 general elections  requiring the commission’s administrative action, the commission’s chair, Professor Mahmood Yakubu has said.

The implementation of the recommendations, he said, would begin with the forthcoming  Kogi and Bayelsa states’ governorship elections. 

The commission, however, said it would work with other relevant institutions on aspects of the recommendations that required consequential action beyond the mandate of the commission.

To this end, INEC while acknowledging that some organisations had submitted their reports, appealed to others yet submit theirs to do so “in earnest in line with the terms of their accreditation to enable the commission take a global view of all the recommendations.”

The INEC chairman said this Monday when the International Republican Institute (IRI)/National Democratic Institute (NDI) submitted their report for the 2019 general elections at the INEC headquarters in Abuja. 

EU EOM report

The IRI/NDI report came few days after the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) in Nigeria presented its recommendations.

In the report, they said the polls were characterised by systemic failures, just as it said the team knew nothing about INEC’s server the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) claimed was used to transmit results of the 2019 general elections.

Briefing journalists in Abuja on the EU EOM’s report, Deputy Chief Observer for the EU Hannah Roberts said the Mission relied on results that were released by INEC.

Roberts, while fielding questions, said the EU Mission in Nigeria was unaware of an INEC server by which results were transmitted during the election.

EU Chief Observer Maria Arena had earlier presented a final report with recommendations for electoral reforms.

She said the EU EOM had 91 observers on the ground for the presidential and federal parliamentary elections across Nigeria.

Arena said 73 observers were deployed for the governorship and state parliamentary elections while only 20 observers were used for the supplementary elections.

The EU EOM made 30 recommendations on how to improve future electoral processes in Nigeria.

“The mission concluded that the systemic failings seen in the elections, and the relatively low levels of voter participation, show the need for fundamental electoral reform.

”The EU report prioritised seven recommendations of the 30, one of which was that Nigeria to strengthen INEC procedures for the collation of results to improve integrity and confidence in electoral outcomes.”

IRI/NDI report

Receiving the IRI/NDI report Monday, Yakubu said the team observed the 2019 general elections on the invitation of INEC, and commended them for submitting their report in good time.

He stated that the long and continuous presence of IRI/NDI in Nigeria meant that partnership between INEC and the organisations predated the just concluded elections and would continue to the next general elections and beyond.

 The INEC boss hoped IRI/NDI report would be all-encompassing with clear recommendations for all institutions involved in the electoral process.  

 “For the 2019 general elections, the commission accredited 159 organisations (39 foreign and 120 domestic) which deployed a total of 73,258 observers. Some of the organisations have already submitted their reports.   

 “The commission hereby appeals to all organisations that have not done so to submit their reports in earnest in line with their terms of accreditation to enable us take a global view of all recommendations.

 “The commission will study your recommendations in detail and will continue to partner with you to prove the electoral and democratic processes in Nigeria. We have already embarked on our own internal reviews. Your report is coming at the right time. 

 “I wish to assure you that we will implement aspects of your recommendations that require administrative action by the commission beginning with the forthcoming Bayelsa and Kogi states governorship elections scheduled for 16th November, 2019.   “We will also work with other institutions on aspects of your recommendations that require consequential action beyond the mandate of the commission,” the INEC chairman said. 

Earlier, leader of IRI/NDI Observer Mission and NDI Senior Associate for Africa and Regional Director for Central and West Africa, Chris Famunyoh said they were at the INEC headquarters to thank the chairman for inviting the two organisations to observe the elections.

He stated that the IRI/NDI formed a joint mission to observe the pre-electoral period as well as the presidential/National Assembly and the state elections.

Famunyoh stated that the mission would be delivering their final report on the 2019 general elections on today (Tuesday) in Abuja, saying that it was normal that they submitted an advanced copy to INEC before the public presentation of the report.

On party deregistration

Meanwhile, INEC has said it lacked the constitutional power to deregister any of the existing 91 political parties in the country.

INEC National Commissioner in charge of Nasarawa, Kogi and Kwara states, Muhammed Haruna, said this Monday in Lokoja while declaring open a post-election review meeting on the last general elections.

Haruna said the clamour by Nigerians for a reduction in the number of registered parties could only be done through an amendment of the constitution.

He agreed that the provisions in the 1999 constitution stating that parties must be national in outlook and have headquarters in Abuja had led to unexpected problems but explained that INEC was helpless.

The commissioner advocated a consensus among stakeholders to resolve the issue, saying constitutional amendment was the only way out.

Haruna identified logistics as the major challenge INEC encountered in the process of conducting the last general elections, saying steps would be taken to prevent a re-occurrence.

On the just-released European Union Observers’ report on the last general elections, the INEC chief said all the issues raised in the report were outside the purview of INEC.

He said the review meeting was organised to identify success factors in the elections with a view to consolidating and sustaining them and to share knowledge among staff and key stakeholders.

Also speaking, Kogi state Resident Electoral Commissioner James Apam admitted to security lapse during the last elections in the state.

He said efforts would be made to correct this and other identified areas of failure before the November 16 governorship election in the state.


 Senate receives EU report 
Meanwhile, the EO EOM to Nigeria would today present its final report on the 2019 general elections  and recommendations to  Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

The EU Mission in a letter dated 14th June , 2019 and addressed to the Senate President , stated that the presentation would  be made by 12:30 pm at the Conference room of the Senate wing .
The letter signed by Kentil karlsen and titled : ” Presentation of final report and recommendations of the EU Election Observation Mission on Tuesday , 18th June, 2019″ reads : 
“On behalf of the Delegation of the European Union to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to the Economic Community of West African States, I write to congratulate you on your election as the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“I would like to use this opportunity to request a meeting for the European Union Election Observation Mission to the recent general elections.

“The EOM is back in Nigeria for the purpose of presenting the final report and recommendations arising from the general elections. I have the honour of proposing the meeting on Tuesday 18thJune 2019

“The purpose of the meeting would be to present a copy of the report and recommendations of the EU Observer Mission to you as we work with Nigerian authorities and all stakeholders to begin a conversation on how to continue to improve electoral administration in Nigeria.

“We also look to use the opportunity to begin to engage with your good self and offices on the wider EU support to the National Assembly on a range of issues including but not limited to institutional building.

“We are mindful that our letter has not made provision alternative timings and dates. This is because the Mission has planned many meetings and activities, and plans to return to Europe on June 20. We therefore plead for your indulgence.”

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