The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says only 42 out of the 159 accredited observer groups for 2019 general elections have so far submitted their reports on the poll.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja at the commission’s meeting with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the review of the 2019 poll.
Yakubu said that a critical component of the requirements for accreditation of observers was the submission of reports and recommendations in the format provided for in Chapter 5 of the Commission’s guidelines for election observation.
“So far, less than 50 domestic and foreign observer groups have submitted their reports. More specifically, only 42 domestic observer groups have submitted their reports representing only 26 per cent of the 159 accredited groups.
“The Commission wishes to appeal to all accredited observers (domestic and foreign) to submit their reports in earnest so that we can aggregate their cumulative recommendations in our ongoing evaluation of the 2019 general election.
“Today’s meeting is not a substitute to observers’ obligation under our guidelines,’’ he said.
Yakubu said that for the 2019 general elections, a total of 159 groups- 120 domestic and 39 foreign, were accredited as election observers
“Collectively, these groups deployed 73,562 observers made up of 71,256 domestic and 2,306 foreign observers.
“The breakdown of the accredited observers by gender shows that out of the 71,256 domestic observers deployed to the field, 51,320 (72 per cent) were males while 19,936 (28 per cent) were females.
“For foreign observers, out of 2,306 persons deployed, 1,711 (74 per cent ) were males while 595 (26per cent) were females,’’ he said.
Yakubu said that Nigeria was the first country in Africa to accredit People With Disabilities (PWDs) as election observers in their own right.
The chairman also appreciated the commitment of CSOs towards deepening the country’s democracy saying that collaboration between the Commission and CSOs, starting from 2010, has positively influenced the reform of the electoral process.
“I want to assure you that all recommendations that require administrative action by the Commission will be given expeditious consideration beginning with the Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections.
“We will continue to work with you on areas requiring legislation by the National Assembly or further action outside the Commission’s immediate mandate,’’ Yakubu said.
Yakubu re-emphasised the commission’s concern over the deployment of its personnel and election materials to Kogi and Bayelsa due to the history of election violence in the two states.
He, however, expressed the appreciation of the commission to some stakeholders in the states that have been promoting peace ahead of the elections, urging the CSOs to support such peace programmes.
In her remarks, INEC National Commissioner and Acting Chairperson, Outreach and Partnership Committee, Prof. Antonia Okosi-Simbine, said that INEC placed high premium on its strategic partners and stakeholders in the electoral process.
Okosi-Simbine said that the outcome of those engagements had immensely impacted and added credibility to the management of elections in the country.
The national commissioner said that there is an emerging consensus by scholars and practitioners that there is no perfect election anywhere in the world.
Okosi-simbine said that however, elections could be improved upon by individual and collective commitments to credible, transparent and inclusive process that meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
“It is the commission’s position that we should all as elections’ stakeholders share in this commitment,’’ he said.
She said it is expected that at the end of the review meeting, far reaching recommendations would be made to further enrich the country’s electoral process in line with international best standards.
Mrs Judith Ekaete, speaking on behalf of gender and women related CSOs, commended INEC for its quarterly meeting with CSOs and for involving PWD in the country’s electoral process.
She said that the commission had succeeded in increasing visibility, accessibility and participation of PWD in the electoral process.
Ekaete pledged continued support of CSOs to INEC towards improving the country’s electoral process.(NAN)