Some election observer missions in Nigeria to observe the 2019 general elections have begun to release their preliminary reports on the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
While each observer mission has pointed out some flaws in the electoral process, they have also applauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for ensuring a transparent process, just as they have commended Nigerians for their conduct during the polls.
In its assessment, the European Union Election Observation Mission noted that “The presidential and National Assembly elections were competitive and candidates were able to campaign freely”.
However, it also stated that in the run-up to the elections on February 23, the parties ran very acrimonious campaigns, with INEC working under strenuous circumstance leading to “serious operational shortcomings,” which it said “reduced confidence in the process and put an undue burden on voters.”
It noted that most polling units opened very late, “leaving voters waiting for hours uncertain of when voting would begin.
In nearly 90 per cent of 190 EU observations, agents of the two main political parties were both present.
It further observed that “There were evident problems in completing results forms and they were not publicly displayed in half the counts observed, weakening transparency” although party agents received copies of the results in almost all cases.
According to the EU Observation Mission, INEC increased its communication with stakeholders as expected after the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections earlier scheduled for Saturday, February 16, 2019, a decision that attracted wide criticism.