EU won’t interfere in Nigeria’s general election – Official
The European Union Election Observation Mission’s Chief to Nigeria, Mr Barry Andrews, says the mission will only observe and not interfere in the February 25 and March 11 elections.
Barry made this known at a press briefing held on Monday in Abuja on the purpose of the mission in Nigeria.
He said the EU EOM mandate was to observe all aspects of the electoral process as invited by the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria.
“We will assess the extent to which the elections comply with the international and regional commitments for the polls as well as the laws of Nigeria.
“The mission is independent in its findings from the Delegation of EU to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS, EU member states, EU institutions and other international organisations,” he said.
The envoy added that the Electoral Act 2022 had introduced new measures aimed at enhancing various aspects of the conduct of elections.
He added: ”As part of its overall analysis, the EU EOM will closely follow its implementation.”
According to Barry, for the first time in Nigeria, the mission has a dedicated Election Technology Analyst who is assessing the use of technologies, especially the verification of voters and the transmission of results.
He said: “A Media Analyst and a Social Media Analyst are also undertaking an assessment of the role of the traditional media, as well as social media and digital communication during the process.
“The EU EOM started its work nearly three weeks ago with the arrival of a core team of 11 experts with competencies in various aspects of elections.
“Since January 29, 40 long-term observers in teams of two follow the electoral process in all the states of Nigeria.
“This is coupled with seven members of the European Parliament, together with some 40 locally recruited observers from 25 EU Member States.”
Barry said representatives of Switzerland, Norway, and Canada in Nigeria would join the mission shortly before elections.
According to him, in total, around 100 observers will observe the voting, counting, and tabulation procedures on February 25 and March 11.
Barry said: “The EU EOM will issue a preliminary statement two days after each election days and will remain in Nigeria until the completion of the entire electoral process including complaints, appeals processes and any possible second round of the presidential election.”
He said the EU EOM was deployed following an invitation of INEC, adding, “all mission members are bound by a code of conduct, which requires strict impartiality and non-interference in the elections.
“The EU EOM undertakes its work in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, commemorated at the United Nations.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the EU applies a consistent methodology for observing elections.
Observers do not interfere in the electoral process and have no authority to change or correct any shortcomings.
All EU elections observers are bound by a strict Code of Conduct and Ethical Guidelines that guarantee their neutrality and impartiality.
The EU EOM seeks to enhance public confidence in the electoral process without interfering in the conduct of elections in any way or validating its results.