Statement of the Third Joint NDI/IRI Pre-Election Assessment Mission to Nigeria

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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From December 14-19, 2018, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) conducted a third pre-election assessment mission as part of their joint observation of Nigeria’s 2019 general elections. IRI/NDI conducted an initial pre-election assessment in July 2018 and a second pre-election assessment in September 2018. The goals for all three missions were to: assess the current political and electoral environment; review preparations for the general elections; and, as appropriate, offer recommendations to enhance confidence in the process as well as to mitigate potentials for election-related violence.

At the end of both previous assessments, IRI/NDI issued statements that highlighted improvements achieved since the 2015 general elections and provided recommendations on steps to enhance confidence in the credibility of the 2019 elections. This mission examined changes to the electoral environment since the second assessment, the status of recommendations previously offered by IRI/NDI, and issues that could still be addressed between now and election day to ensure more credible and peaceful polls.

This assessment delegation comprised: Linda Thomas-Greenfield (lead delegate), former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs; Lewis Lucke, former USAID senior official and Ambassador to the Kingdom of Swaziland; Dickson Omondi, NDI Kenya Resident Country Director; and John Tomaszewski, IRI Africa Regional Director.

The delegation met with a wide array of election stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties and their candidates, members of the judiciary, civil society representatives, media practitioners, security officials, and senior government officials. The delegation expresses its appreciation to everyone with whom it met for sharing insights from which the mission benefited greatly. The delegation conducted its activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, which was launched in 2005 at the United Nations, and the laws of Nigeria. It also considered international and regional electoral standards, including the African Union (AU) Africa Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. All activities were conducted on a strictly nonpartisan basis and without interfering in the election process.

Both IRI and NDI have deployed international election observation missions to all general elections in Nigeria since the 1999 transition from military to civilian democratic rule. NDI and IRI are nonpartisan, nongovernmental organizations that support and strengthen democratic institutions and practices worldwide. The Institutes have observed collectively more than 200 elections in more than 50 countries over the last 30 years. IRI and NDI will deploy a joint international delegation to observe the presidential, National Assembly, gubernatorial and state assembly elections in Nigeria in 2019.

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