Abuja, Nigeria – Today, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) joint pre-election assessment mission delegation released its pre-election statement of findings and recommendations for Nigeria’s February 2019 general elections.
The delegation visited Nigeria from July 12 to 20 and represents an important component of the joint IRI-NDI International Election Observation Mission. The delegation is led by Dr. Pauline Baker, president emeritus of The Fund for Peace (USA). The delegation also includes: Christopher Fomunyoh, NDI senior associate and regional director for Central and West Africa (Cameroon); Terry Tselane, vice chairperson of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (South Africa); Lauren Blanchard, U.S. Congressional Research Service specialist in African Affairs (USA); and Jan Surotchak, IRI regional director for Europe (USA).
“It is evident that Nigeria's 2019 general elections will be closely contested,” said Baker. “It is also clear that Nigerians are committed to democracy and ensuring that every election is an improvement over the previous one. Our delegation hopes that the polls will be peaceful, credible, and further deepen the country’s democratic practices.”
“While the IRI-NDI delegation observed that the election management body – INEC – has undertaken several innovative steps to reinforce the integrity of the electoral system,” said Surotchak, “Continued efforts must be made by a cross-section of Nigerian actors to enhance citizen confidence and participation in the process.”
The delegation's statement highlights notable gains in the consolidation of Nigerian democracy over the past two decades and notes that the upcoming polls build upon incremental improvements to election administration during the 2011 and 2015 elections.
The delegation also encourages Nigerians to continue their efforts to enhance citizen confidence and participation in the election and also mitigate violence before, during and after the polls.
In the spirit of international cooperation, the delegation offered recommendations for further review and consideration.
IRI and NDI have organized more than 200 international election observation missions around the globe, earning a reputation for impartiality and professionalism. The IRI-NDI mission to Nigeria will conduct its activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct adopted by the United Nations in 2005 and will base its findings and recommendations on Nigerian laws and on international standards for elections. All activities will be conducted on a strictly nonpartisan basis and without interfering in the election process.