EU monitors arrive in Nigeria ahead of elections
• Promise to work without interference
THE European Union (EU) Tuesday said its monitors, under the umbrella of Election Observation Mission, which had started arriving in Nigeria ahead of next month’s general elections, are to monitor, without interference, the presidential, National Assembly, governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.
A statement issued by the EU Press Officer in Abuja, Eberhard Laue, said that the deployment of the Mission was at the invitation of the authorities in Nigeria, adding that “the mission will assess the elections against national law and international principles for elections contained in regional and international law and standards.”
He said that nine analysts of the core team arrived in Abuja on January 6, 2015 following an advance team that was deployed during the parties’ primaries last November and December. Thirty long-term observers arrived from January 12.
Laue added that a delegation from the European Parliament and EU diplomats in Nigeria would also join the mission on election days.
Head of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM), Santiago Fisas Ayxela, a member of the European Parliament from Spain, is due to arrive in Abuja this week.
“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”, Ayxela said.
According to Laeu, “The EU EOM will conduct a comprehensive analysis of the entire electoral process. This will include assessing the legal framework, the performance of the election administration, voters’ registration, candidates’ nomination and political parties’ primaries, campaign activities, respect for fundamental freedom, access to and conduct of the media, voting and the counting, announcement and acceptance of results, and complaints and appeals.
“The EU EOM is bound by a code of conduct which requires strict neutrality and no interference in the process. The mission undertakes all its work in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. The EU EOM will publish its initial findings in preliminary statements, which will be presented in press conferences two days after each election day. A final report will be later published which will include recommendations for improvements for future elections”.
“The European Union was invited to deploy an observation mission by the Nigerian authorities and has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The EU EOM is independent from any EU institutions or member-states and is committed to remain neutral and abide by the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct, as well as the laws of Nigeria.”