EU Deploys Election Observation Mission to Nigeria
By Adedapo Adesanya
The European Union (EU) has deployed an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe Nigeria’s general elections scheduled for February 25 and March 18, 2023.
In a statement on Tuesday, the bloc said the decision was coming in response to the invitation by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In light of this, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr Josep Borrell, has appointed Mr Barry Andrews, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer for the EOM to Nigeria.
The EU previously deployed Election Observation Missions to Nigeria for the last five elections starting from 2003 to 2019 elections.
Mr Borrell said: “These elections will be crucial for the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria and for the stability of the region. This is the sixth time that the EU has deployed an election observation mission to Nigeria, reflecting our commitment to work together to consolidate democracy in the country.
“The elections are set to be competitive and will take place in a challenging security context. It is our hope that Nigerians will be able to cast their vote in a peaceful environment and that any challenges or disputes will be solved through dialogue or through available legal remedies.”
The Chief Observer, Mr Barry Andrews, said: “I am very pleased to have been entrusted with the responsibility for leading this EU Election Observation Mission. The mission is taking place during a period of time when democracy around the globe is in decline.
“The forthcoming General Elections are therefore not only a key moment in Nigeria’s democratic development but also important to the future of democracy in West Africa and the continent at large. I am looking forward to meeting with electoral stakeholders that are playing important roles in the ongoing electoral process.”
The EU EOM will provide a comprehensive, independent, and impartial assessment of the electoral process based on international and regional standards for democratic elections.
The Core Team of the EU EOM consists of 11 election experts who will arrive in Abuja during the first half of January. Towards the end of January, 40 long-term observers will join the mission to be deployed across the country and follow the electoral campaign.
Thereafter, short-term observers from the EU diplomatic community, as well as Canada, Norway and Switzerland, will reinforce the mission during election day. The EU EOM will remain in the country until the completion of the electoral process.
In line with the EU election observation methodology, the mission will issue a preliminary statement and hold a press conference in Abuja after the election day. The final report, which will include a set of recommendations for future electoral processes, will be presented after the finalisation of the entire electoral process.