Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) said the 2019 elections did not meet the expectations of many Nigerians.
The NDI/IRI made the submission in its final report on the 2019 elections presented in Abuja, yesterday.
The report came few days after the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria, for the 2019 general election, said the elections were marked by severe operational and transparency shortcomings.
The NDI/IRI final report stated that it was built on the findings and recommendations of three pre-election assessment missions in July 2018, September 2018 and December 2018, including preliminary reports on the February 23, 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections and the March 9, governorship and House of Assembly elections.
“The NDI/IRI observation mission concluded that the 2019 elections did not meet the expectations of many Nigerians.
“The last minute postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections, on the morning of February 16 and delays in opening some polling units and other administrative challenges on February 23 undermined public confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). While INEC distributed materials and opened polls in a more timely fashion, for the March 9 governorship and House of Assembly elections, many serious irregularities occurred, including vote-buying, intimidation of voters and election officials, and election-related violence,” the NDI/IRI said.
On his part, IRI President, Dr. Daniel Twining, said: “The 2019 general election fell significantly short of standards set in 2015.
“Citizens’ confidence in elections was shaken. 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.” Also, NDI President , Ambassador Derek Mitchell, said: “The 2019 elections highlighted for many Nigerians, the need for national conversation about the country’s democratisation since the 1999 transition to civil rule.”
Earlier, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said the Commission will study the recommendations in detail and will continue to partner with NDI/IRI to improve the electoral and democratic processes in Nigeria.