March 20, 2023

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European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

 Mr Barry Andrew, European Union (EU) Chief Election Observation Mission (EOM) Officer, says systematic weakness of election administration can affect Nigeria’s democratic process.

Andrew made this known at the second news briefing of the mission in Nigeria at the just concluded governorship and state House of Assembly elections held last Saturday in the country.

Recall that the governorship and state House of Assembly elections was postponed from March 11 to March 18 to enable configuration of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to Andrew, that the collation process is ongoing, and EU EOM is continuing its observation of this crucial phase of the elections.

“Therefore, I encourage stakeholders to keep committed to visible process and address any grievances through the courts.

“In this regard, I am mindful of the fact that various aspect of the presidential election had already been brought before the court as well as the Federal House Assembly elections.

“This mission maintained strict impartial stand in accordance with our observation methodology accordingly, I do not propose to discourse matters relating to those election held in February 25th as its not in my place to so,” he said.

According to him, this is to avoid saying anything that will not be misconstrued as prejudice at the interest of any party within those petitions.

“As observers we always hope to see a free and fair electoral process and to see democracy striving , unfortunately, one expectation that the new electoral law that notably all conduct at the polls was not met.

“Also, the poor interpretation of the law and lack of political will to achieve its adjectives was not met.

“The conduct of the 2023 election revealed that, systematic weakness of election administration if that is not properly and comprehensively address will lead to democratic backsliding .

“This can have serious consequences on any country on any continent, considering the role that Nigeria has with its region , Africa and the world, this is particularly important,” he said.