2015 Elections Were Not Devoid of Irregularities – EU | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Latest, News

2015 Elections Were Not Devoid of Irregularities – EU

Posted: Oct 15, 2015 at 12:46 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Innocent Oweh, Abuja

The European Union Election Observation Mission in Nigeria on Wednesday submitted its final report to the Nigerian Government but noted that the process of electing some of the political gladiators was almost marred by irregularities.

EU’s Chief Observer, Santiago Fisas, who unveiled the report in Abuja, said the world acknowledges that the 2015 election was historic, as it was the first time since the transition from military rule in 1999 when an opposition clinched power from an incumbent administration.

He said in some quarters,the election was characterised by incidence of violence,abuse of incumbency and attempts at manipulating the process,an indication that signals urgent electoral reforms,which should encompass the legislative bodies,the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and other stakeholders.

The report which contained far reaching recommendations for reforming the electoral process also highlighted the idea modalities for selecting the electoral umpires at all cadres.

Out of the 30 recommendations outlined by the EU,19 would require legislative actions and some administrative fiat by different agencies.

Fisas said,”Now is the time for the new office holders,legislative bodies,INEC and other stakeholders to demonstrate their commitment to electoral reform. Legislation can be further developed and each off-cycle election is an opportunity for implementing improved practices.

“There is need to establish a more inclusive parliamentary mechanism for cross party involvement in the selection and approval of the INEC chairperson and national commissioners. INEC’s independence can be further developed through direct power to appoint and remove Resident Electoral Commissioners.

“There should be an elaborate plan for developing and maintaining the voter register to include improving biometric functionality,removal of the deceased and extended enrolment of new registrants”

The EU also suggested the merger of accreditation and voting processes in subsequent elections for ease of access for voters,while maintaining other safeguards such as biometric voter identification through the use of voter cards and card readers.

According to the EU,government should initiate an amendment to the constitution to allow for independent candidacy for all elected positions,including strengthening the National Broadcasting Code of the NBC.

Beyond these,EU observations suggest that there should be reasonable time limits allotted for filing,hearing and determination of pre-election suits to be established in the legal framework in order for cases to be completed well in advance of election day.

“We envisage a situation where political parties would be required to have policies and provide regular information on the promotion of women’s political participation within the party,”Fisas emphasized.