The International Republic Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) have commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the far reaching reforms it introduced prior to the 2019 general elections.
This was contained in the election observations report of the United States based groups which was presented to the public on Tuesday in Abuja.
The IRI/NDI report blamed the political class, lack of internal democracies in political parties as well as security operatives for some of the challenges experienced during the general elections.
They stated that while INEC made arrangements for a credible poll, the political class deployed high-handed tactics, which includes vote buying, unguarded political statements and violence to undermine the process.
They commended INEC for introducing simultaneous voting, posting of results at polling units, improved voter-verification technologies and a more robust review and disciplinary process for INEC staff and enhancement of ballot secrecy as well as measures to reduce vote buying.
They cited delay in release of election budget, failed attempt to reform the electoral legal framework and numerous pre-election disputes over political parties primaries which led to delay in printing of ballot papers as some of the challenges faced by INEC despite releasing it’s timetable one year before the election.
The groups therefore urged Nigeria to pursue a comprehensive, inclusive and expeditious electoral reform process as well as establish time limit for the adjudication of pre-election petitions.
They further recommended improved coordination between security agencies and INEC and the provision of electoral security, enforce electoral law by investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of election-related criminal act.
“Urgently commit to and implement measures to strengthen mechanism for political party internal democracy, develop and campaign on issue-based platforms that reflect citizens priorities.”