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2019 POLLS FELL SHORT OF 2015 STANDARDS – IRI, NDI

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The joint Nigeria International Election Observation Mission of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) released its final report on the 2019 Nigerian elections. The final report is a comprehensive analysis of the electoral process and includes important recommendations ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 general elections.

This final report builds on the findings and recommendations of three pre-election assessment missions in July 2018, September 2018, and December 2018 as well as preliminary statements released following the February 23, 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections and the March 9, 2019 gubernatorial and state House of Assembly elections.

The NDI/IRI observation mission in its report concluded that the 2019 elections did not meet the expectations of many Nigerians, citing the last-minute postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections on the morning of Feb. 16 and delays in opening some polling units and other administrative challenges on Feb. 23 that undermined public confidence in INEC. The joint observation mission said they observed many serious irregularities, including vote buying, intimidation of voters and election officials, and election-related violence.

The groups therefore urged the Nigerian government to pursue a comprehensive, inclusive and expeditious electoral reform process as well as establish time limit for the adjudication of pre-election petitions. They further recommended improved coordination between security agencies and INEC and the provision of electoral security, enforce electoral law by investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of election-related criminal act.

When asked how they would rate the 2019 elections in comparison to 2015’s, Mr Christopher Fomunyoh of NDI said 2015 elections was one the most credible elctions in the country’s history.

“The 2019 general elections fell significantly short of standards set in 2015. Citizens’ confidence in elections was shaken,” said Dr. Daniel Twining, IRI President. “Election stakeholders should take concrete steps to address the concerns of citizens with regards to the polls in order to rekindle their faith in the power and possibility of credible elections.”

“The 2019 elections highlighted for many Nigerians the need for a national conversation about the country’s democratization since the 1999 transition to civilian rule,” said Ambassador Derek Mitchell, NDI President. “We hope this report may both spur and contribute to enriching that national conversation.”

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