Nigerian Elections Hold the Promise of Setting New Integrity Standard, NDI Mission Finds
Election official with National Assembly ballot at Lugbe polling station outside Abuja.
Nigeria's recent presidential and National Assembly elections "represent a step forward from seriously flawed elections of the past" and "hold the promise of setting a new standard for integrity in Nigeria's electoral process," NDI said in a preliminary statement after the presidential poll.
The Institute fielded international observer delegations for both the April 9 National Assembly elections
and the April 16 presidential poll. The first observation mission was co-led by Joe Clark, former Canadian prime minister; Mahame Ousmane, former president of Niger; Antonio Manuel Mascarenhas Monteiro, former president of Cape Verde;
Jon S. Corzine, former U.S. senator and governor of New Jersey;
Marietje Schaake, member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands; Natasha Stott Despoja, former senator from Australia; and Kenneth Wollack, president of NDI. Clark and Ousmane stayed on as co-leaders of the presidential observation mission and were joined by Robin Carnahan, secretary of state of Missouri; and Christopher Fomunyoh, NDI senior associate and regional director for Central and West Africa.
The delegations found that, despite problems, the elections gave Nigerians a real chance to vote, and they commended the millions of Nigerians who braved long lines and hot weather to participate.
A voter marks her presidential ballot in Abuja.
NDI also partnered with a coalition of four Nigerian civil society organizations in Project 2011 Swift Count, which fielded more than 8,000 observers to conduct a parallel vote tabulation (PVT) for the presidential and gubernatorial elections, held on April 26. A PVT is a sophisticated election observation tool used to assess the integrity of the vote and count, and verify official vote totals. Observers relayed their findings by SMS messages, which were then compiled and analyzed at Project Swift Count's headquarters in Abuja.
Project Swift Count issued an interim statement
after the presidential poll confirming the results announced by Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission. With the northern part of the country protesting the re-election victory of President Goodluck Jonathan, Project Swift Count
called upon all candidates and their supporters to "respect the will of the Nigerian people and to accept the results in good faith." They also asked that all political leaders "immediately and clearly make statements denouncing all acts of post-election violence."
NDI also partnered with the National Elections Incidents Center (NEIC), a coalition of three civil society groups doing citizen observation of the presidential election. The NEIC catalogued and mapped incidents and irregularities in the voting on election day. The center concluded that "the accreditation and voting process was smooth and peaceful" at the polling stations they observed.
NDI's mission in Nigeria builds on a pre-election assessment
conducted by the Institute in October. NDI has been working in Nigeria since 1999 and has fielded international observation missions to previous elections there in 1999,
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