2023 Poll: INEC urges domestic, international observers not to interfere with electoral process

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By Joy Odor

The Chairman, independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has called on the domestic and international observers not to interfere with the 2023 general election process or show partisanship come Saturday, 25th February.

According to him, international observers must be guided by the fact that the election is conducted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria whose sovereignty must be respected.

Prof Yakubu who made the call at the briefing for Accredited Election Observers for the election in Abuja on Tuesday reminded the observers that there is a code of conduct for election observation.

He urged them to keep to the rules, warning that the implication is that all accredited observers are guests of INEC.

The INEC Chairman informed that the Commission has accredited 196 national or domestic groups that are collectively deploying 144,800 observers.

“Similarly, the Commission accredited 33 international organisations deploying 2,113 observers. In all, 229 groups are deploying 146,913 observers for the 2023 General Election.

“This is the largest deployment of domestic and international observers in the history of elections in Nigeria” he said.

Prof Yakubu affirmed that the briefing for observers is in keeping with international good practice.

“I wish to remind observers that there is a code of conduct for election observation. You are by definition observers. Do not interfere with the process or show partisanship.

“In addition, international observers must be guided by the fact that the election is conducted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria whose sovereignty must be respected.

“I urge you all to keep to the rules, listen to the presentation to be made shortly and ask questions where you require further clarification” he noted.

Also in her goodwill message, the Africa Regional Director of the International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES), Clara Cole affirmed that IFES mission is to advance good governance and democratic rights by providing technica assistance to their partners in administering credible election, advocating for change, empowering the underrepresented to participate in the political process and applying data driven research to improve the quality and integrity of election.

She assured that IFES would always applaud INEC for recognizing the important role observers play in strengthening the electoral process.

Clara Cole opined that election observers guarantees public confidence, deters fraud, exposes irregularities and provide recommendations for improving future election.

She commended all election observers who came from different countries to Nigeria for the Saturday election and their willingness to be part of it, adding that their participation is important that highlights their enthusiasm to improve Nigeria electoral process and urged them to adhere to the guidelines as provided by INEC.

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