Ahead of the approaching February general elections, the European Union (EU) has deployed a team of observers to Nigeria referred to as the Election Observation Mission (EOM) for the Presidential, National Assembly, Governor and State Houses elections consisting of a nine-member analyst, with the group expected to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the entire electoral process.
The EU observation mission to the country will be led by Santiago Ayxela, member of the European Parliament, Spain, who will arrive in Abuja later this week.
Part of the mission’s objective includes assessing the legal framework, performance of the election administration, voter registration, candidates’ nomination and political party’s primaries while also assessing campaign activities, respect for fundamental freedoms, access to and conduct of the media, voting and the counting, the announcement and acceptance of results, and complaints and appeals.
The EOM will also assess the elections against national law and international principles for elections contained in regional and international law and standards. These will be done at the invitation of Nigerian authorities.
Ayxela, the chief observer in a statement said, “The EU EOM’s extended presence shows the EU’s commitment to the conduct of inclusive, transparent and credible elections in Nigeria.
“We don’t just focus on the election days, but on all aspects of the electoral process, including the arbitration of petitions long after voting is finished”
A delegation from the European Parliament and EU diplomats in Nigeria will also join the mission on election days.
The EU was invited to deploy an observation mission by the Nigerian authorities and has signed Memorandums of Understanding with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The mission will publish its initial findings in preliminary statements that will be presented in press conferences two days after each Election Day while a final report that will include recommendations for improvements in future election will be published later.