…As 61 Parties Reject INEC Guidelines The United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) say there are increased prospects that the forthcoming general elections in Nigeria will be peaceful, transparent and credible. “The prospects for peaceful and credible elections have been increased following the signing of the National Peace Accord in Abuja on Dec.
…As 61 Parties Reject INEC Guidelines
The United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) say there are increased prospects that the forthcoming general elections in Nigeria will be peaceful, transparent and credible.
“The prospects for peaceful and credible elections have been increased following the signing of the National Peace Accord in Abuja on Dec. 11, 2018,” says Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, in his latest briefing to the Security Council.
Also announcing the appointment of Ms Maria Arena as chief observer, European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria for the General Elections, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr Federica Mogherini, says,
“The EU is committed to support Nigeria’s path towards stronger democracy and further political stability, building on the 2015 general elections. I am confident that the deployment of an EU EOM under the leadership of Chief Observer Maria Arena, will contribute to an inclusive and transparent electoral process,”
Continuing, Chambas said, “In Nigeria, tensions are high ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections of Feb. 16, and the governorship and state assembly elections of March 2.”
“Over the coming weeks, I will continue to engage actively with all stakeholders in Nigeria, including through the organisation of peace fora in the key states of Benue, Rivers, Kaduna and Kano.”
The UN envoy said since his last briefing to the Security Council, further progress had been made in democratic consolidation in West Africa and the Sahel, in spite of persisting security challenges.
“In the past six months, presidential elections were successfully organised in Mali, regional and parliamentary elections were held in Mauritania and Togo and local elections were organised in Cote d’Ivoire.”
“However, despite appreciable progress in democratic consolidation in the region, there is a need for continuous efforts to address contentious issues around elections.”
”This is to prevent and mitigate election-related violence, as well as to support inclusive dialogue as a key attribute of inclusive societies.”
“This is even more important as over the next six months, the region will see several high-stake elections in Nigeria, Senegal, Mauritania and Benin.”
He expressed regret over the rising number of attacks and the increasing sophistication in the tactics deployed by extremist groups, saying it risks undermining the collective efforts in the region.
Military solutions, while necessary, are not sufficient, Chambas said, encouraging all actors to ensure holistic responses, grounded in the respect of human rights, and the socio-economic needs of the population in the affected areas.
“Through inclusive approaches predicated on national ownership, we must continue to work hard on addressing the governance deficits, the extreme poverty and lack of development that feed and sustain armed violence and extremism,” he said.
He said Boko Haram attacks in the Lake Chad Basin over the last months had increased, especially in Borno and Yobe during the last week of December alone.
“Violent clashes between farmers and herders are also continuing, although on a lesser scale, thankfully, than in the first half of 2018,” he said.
In its efforts towards advancing the long-term stabilisation goals of the region, Chambas said UNOWAS continued to work closely with regional partners, including ECOWAS, the G-5 Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).
“Laudable progress was made in the implementation of Security Council resolution 2349 (2017) to support a regional response to the crisis in the Lake Chad Basin.
“On 30 August, the LCBC Ministerial Council adopted a Regional Strategy for Stabilisation, Recovery and Resilience of the Boko Haram-affected areas of the Lake Chad Basin.”
“The meeting took place before the high-level conference on the Lake Chad region, which was held from September 3 to 4 in Berlin, during which partners pledged over $2 billion to help meet the needs of the more than 17 million people affected by this crisis.”
He also commended the holding of the ECCAS-ECOWAS joint Summit on July 30 in Lome as an important step towards addressing cross border threats facing West and Central Africa.
As one of the key outcomes of the summit, Heads of State and Government affirmed their readiness to enhance the inter-regional collaboration.
It is to jointly address threats to peace and security, including from violent extremism.
The UN envoy said the leaders are also committed to holding regular meetings to identify measures for the prevention and peaceful management of farmer-herder conflicts.
The European Union is also committed to ensuring transparent elections in Nigeria. Mr Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission stated this while announcing the appointment of Ms Maria Arena as chief observer, European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria for the General elections.
Ms Arena is a member of the European Parliament from Belgium.
EU has consistently supported the country’s electoral processes and deployed an EOM to Nigeria’s general elections since 1999, reflecting its long-term commitment to ensuring credible, transparent and inclusive
elections in the country.
Said Mogherini: “As Africa’s largest economy and a key political and economic player in West Africa, Nigeria is an important partner for the EU. The EU is committed to support Nigeria’s path towards stronger democracy and further political stability, building on the 2015 general elections. I am confident that the deployment of an EU EOM under the leadership of Chief Observer Maria Arena, will contribute to an inclusive and transparent electoral process.”
“It is a great honour for me to lead this important EU Election Observation Mission to Nigeria. I am hopeful that our observation will provide a meaningful contribution to the electoral and democratic process in Nigeria,” said Arena
The Election Observation Mission Core Team of eleven EU election analysts arrived in Nigeria on January 4 and will stay in the country until the completion of the electoral process.
Later in January the Core Team will be joined by 40 long-term observers who will be deployed across the country.
Shortly after both election days, the mission will issue preliminary statements at press conferences in Abuja. A final report, including recommendations for future electoral processes, will be presented at a later stage, after the finalisation of the electoral process.
Meanwhile, about 61 political parties have rejected what they termed “over 8 obnoxious clauses” inserted into the 2019 election guidelines by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The National Chairman of the Action Peoples Party (APP) and the Publicity Secretary of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere said in a statement at the weekend that the 61 parties are of the view the new clauses would ruin the 2019 polls.
Ugochinyere said the political parties rejected the clause in the guideline which “allows unduly accredited voters” who have PVCs to vote even if their names were not on the voters’ register.
The parties threatened to therefore, pass a vote of no confidence on INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu if he goes ahead to release the “contentious guidelines” on Monday, without further consultation with political parties.
“Political parties demand retention of 2011 and 2015 separate accreditation time and separate voting time to help forestall rigging with the presence of voters at the polling unit instead of INEC 2019 simultaneous accreditation and voting.
“Political parties demand announcement of accreditation figures by 12 noon on election day and recorded in a signed form and given to party agents before voting starts, to forestall doctoring of election figures during collation.”
“Political parties demand stoppage of PVC collection 10 days to the election day and disclosure of the total number of PVC collected on polling unit basis to political parties.”
“Political parties demand transparency in collation and transmission of results with accredited representatives of election observers and political parties monitoring.”
“Political parties reject the creation or usage of secret polling units called voting point settlement and demand full list and location of such units.”
“Political parties demand the redeployment of Amina Zakari as head of collation centre and replacement with Federal Commissioner in charge of Operation, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu to ensure credibility and balancing,” the statement said.