The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the commission will utilise the lessons and experiences of accredited observers for the conduct of future elections in Nigeria.
He also acknowledged that the observation of the 2019 general election must have presented its challenges, not only on account of the vast terrain of the country with over 120,000 polling units and voting points, but also on account of the peculiar or additional challenges presented by the shift and rescheduling of the dates of the elections by the commission.
The INEC chairman, represented by a National Commissioner, Prof. Antonia Okoosi-Simbine, said this in Abuja on Wednesday during the formal de-briefing of accredited observers for the 2019 general elections.
He said, “One solace in my view lies in the contribution that you are collectively making by your participation in the consolidation of Nigeria’s democratic growth. I am also delighted by the fact that a vast majority of those deployed by your various groups returned safely to their destinations without major hitches.
“Going by the commission’s record, a total of 120 domestic and 36 foreign groups were accredited for the 2019 general election. Submissions by the observer groups also indicated that over 85,000 observers were deployed and participated in each of the two elections. The final assessment on the levels of observer participation is being obtained from our respective state offices.”
Participants at the meeting made some observations, including the failure of the Smart Card Readers, violence, compromise by election officers and acts of misconduct by security operatives.
According to him, the de-briefing exercise served as a precursor to the more comprehensive reports the commission was expecting from their respective organizations as soon as possible.