A preliminary report of observations of Nigeria’s 2023 general election has been presented by the Electoral Observation Mission of the European Union, on Monday, 27 February, 2023.
The report was presented at a press conference held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
Chief Observer of the Mission, Barry Andrews, in his address, disclosed that the mission had a total of 110 observers, including 11 core team members, 14 long-term observers, and 96 short-term observers, including delegates of the European Parliament.
He further said the elections were marred by cases of abuse of incumbency, widespread allegations of vote buying, disinformation of voters, and a lack of planning in critical stages of the electoral process.
“Fundamental freedoms of assembly and movement were largely respected, yet the full enjoyment of the latter was impeded by insufficient planning, insecurity, and the prevailing naira and fuel shortages. Abuse of incumbency by various political office holders distorted the playing field and there were widespread allegations of vote buying.
“Overall, stakeholders had expressed confidence in INEC’s independence, professionalism, and voter information efforts, this decreased ahead of elections.
“INEC lacked efficient planning and transparency during critical stages of the electoral process, while on election day, trust in INEC was seen to further reduce due to delayed polling processes, and information gaps related to much-anticipated access to results on its Results Viewing Portal.
“The introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the IReV for the 2023 elections was perceived as an important step to ensure the integrity and credibility of elections. However, delayed training of technical personnel, an inadequate mock testing exercise, and a lack of information on the election technologies diminished expectations and left room for speculation and uncertainty.”
While commending citizens for their turnout at the polls, Andrew stated that the EU would continue to monitor the collation of results as well as the March 11 governorship and state assembly elections, and would present its final reports three months after the end of the election processes, in order not to interfere with the process.
“The mission continues to follow the ongoing process related to the presidential and National Assembly elections to its conclusion and will continue its activities until the 11th of March for the governorship and local state council elections. In three months, after the end of the process, our mission will deliver a final report and will include recommendations, addressing issues,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Head of the European Parliament Delegates, Miss Evin Incir, expressed concern that less than 10 per cent of the total candidates in the elections were women, stating that “the next government and parliament should heed to the manifestos of the main political parties of Nigeria, which call for affirmative action, such as quotas.”