By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday disclosed that only 42 out of the 159 accredited observer groups for 2019 general elections have so far submitted their reports on the poll.
The disclosure was made by the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the disclosure in Abuja during the commission’s meeting with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the review of the 2019 poll.
Prof. Yakubu pointed out 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.
According to him, “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 (yesterday’s) meeting is not a substitute to observers’ obligation under our guidelines,’’ he said.
The INEC Chairman further said that for the 2019 general elections, a total of 159 groups, 120 domestic and 39 foreign, were accredited as election observers
His words, “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 revealed that Nigeria was the first country in Africa to accredit People With Disabilities (PWDs) as election observers in their own right.
He lauded the commitment of CSOs towards deepening the country’s democracy, noting that collaboration between the Commission and CSOs, starting from 2010, has positively influenced the reform of the electoral process.
He expressed the appreciation of INEC to some stakeholders in the states who have been promoting peace ahead of the elections, urging the CSOs to support such peace programmes.
Also speaking at the meeting, the 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.
Mrs Judith Ekaete, who spoke 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.