Election Shift : NGOs, International observers back INEC
By Fortune Abang
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), both NGOs, joint international observation mission have thrown their weight on INEC’s postponement of the Feb. 16 elections, to ensure credible polls.
This was expressed in a statement on Monday in Yola by Mr Tony Awesu, Head of Media of NDI, for the mission on Nigeria’s 2019 election.
According to Awesu, NDI/IRI fully endorsed the postponement of the 2019 elections in Nigeria and will continue to support Nigeria’s democratic development.
“IRI and NDI mission appreciates INEC’s commitment to hold credible elections; we understand it is better to delay the elections than to disenfranchise voters due to logical obstacles.
“NDI and IRI regret that INEC underestimated the challenges associated with the administration of the elections, leading to the decision to postpone them.
“As we have done in past three pre-election statements issued between July and December 2018, we urge INEC to ensure transparency and better communicate electoral processes, to build trust of Nigerians.
“Moreover, we encourage the Commission to take sufficient steps to secure materials and apply lessons learned for these and future elections.
“The mission urges Nigerians to continue to remain calm and patient as the electoral process unfolds,” he said.
He described the electoral period as a time for Nigerians across all spectrum to unite for peaceful and successful elections on Feb. 23 and March 9.
He said that the observation mission delegation would remain in the country for the rest of the electoral process to achieve the desired goals.
He noted that in spite of repeated assurances that logistic arrangements had been made, it was wrong for the Commission to have waited until morning before announcing postponement of the election.
He, however, advised Nigerians to remain calm and patient as the electoral processes unfolded, adding that there should be caution as whatever happened in Nigeria could impact negatively across Africa.
NAN reports that NDI is a nonpartisan organisation that supports and strengthens democratic institutions globally through citizen participation in electoral process.
IRI is a global organisation established to advance freedom of information and help citizens participate in governance process.