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Polls: Int’l Observer Mission Calls For National Dialogue

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For Nigeria to get its party  politics and conduct of its elections right, there is a need for national dialogue, an international election Observer group has said.

The joint Nigeria International Election Observer Mission of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) gave this position yesterday in Abuja while presenting its final report on the 2019 general elections to the public.

The report, which was a comprehensive analysis of the electoral process, included important recommendations ahead of the 2023 general elections.

“The 2019 general elections highlighted for many Nigerians the need for a national conversation about the country’s democratization since the  1999 transition to civilian rule,” said Ambassador Derek Mitchell, NDI President.

“We hope this report may both spur and contribute to enriching that national conversation,” she stressed.

Other recommendations in the report included early preparation for elections so as to mitigate against and last minute shortcomings.

It also advised on having a workable legal framework and election dispute resolution technique that would enable the electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and political stakeholders pursue a comprehensive, inclusive and expeditious electoral reform process.

In the same vein, it called for the establishment of  time limits for the adjudication of pre-election petitions to ensure that judgements are rendered before election day and early enough not to interfere with INEC’s election preparations.

Commenting on the report, the National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said “the  Commission will study their recommendations in detail and will continue to partner with them to improve the electoral and democratic processes in Nigeria.”

He also assured that the commission will also work with other institutions on aspects of the recommendations that require consequential action beyond the mandate of the Commission.”

While speaking further, he noted the joint team IRI and NDI were among the 39 Foreign organisations accredited by the Commission to observe the 2019 general elections.

“The joint team reportedly deployed 40 international observers to 16 States of the Federation for the Presidential and National Assembly elections and 20 international observers to 10 States of the Federation for the Governorship and State Assembly elections”, he added.

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