Accredited 2023 election observers have been called upon the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to respect Nigeria sovereignty by not interfering with the exercise or show partisanship,
About 144,800 national and 2,113 international observers are to monitor the elections which begin on Saturday with the Presidential and National Assembly polls. The observers are drawn from 229 national groups and 33 international observer groups.
INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu gave the advice against allegations that “subversive local and their international collaborators” are planning to cause civil unrest during elections.
Briefing the observers from 260 local and international groups in Abuja, Yakubu said as guests of INEC, “there is a code of conduct for election observation,” that they must comply with.
He said: “You are by definition observers. Do not interfere with the process or show partisanship. In addition, international observers must be guided by the fact that the election is conducted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria whose sovereignty must be respected.
“I urge you all to keep to the rules, listen to the presentation to be made shortly and ask questions where you require further clarification..”
The INEC boss, who described the number of observers as the largest in the history of elections in Nigeria, said their accreditation was in line with “global good practice.”
“In line with global good practice, electoral commissions in most jurisdictions invite national and international organisations to deploy observers or organise study tours for election managers during elections.
“As a consequence, observers submit reports to electoral commissions highlighting strengths and weaknesses of processes.
“Arising from study tours, election managers also learn from other jurisdictions. The reports and recommendations of observers and the knowledge from the study tours help electoral commissions to progressively improve processes.
“The progressive improvement in our electoral democracy since 1999 draws in part from the reports of observers and the study tours. That is why over the years, the commission has sent open or specific invitations to national and international observers.
“The implication is that all accredited observers are guests of INEC.
“For the 2023 General Election beginning this weekend with the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Commission has accredited 196 national or domestic groups that are collectively deploying 144,800 observers.
“Similarly, the Commission accredited 33 international organisations deploying 2,113 observers. In all, 229 groups are deploying 146,913 observers for the 2023 General Election.
“Today’s briefing for observers is in keeping with international good practice.”