The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has accredited 229 groups, bringing 146,913 observers to monitor the 2023 general elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, addressing observer groups in Abuja, said they comprised 196 domestic and 33 international observer groups.
“For the 2023 general elections beginning on Saturday, the commission has accredited 196 national or domestic groups.
“The groups are collectively deploying 144,800 observers throughout the country.
“Similarly, the commission accredited 33 international organisations that will deploy 2,113 observers.
“In all, 229 groups are deploying 146,913 observers for the 2023 general elections.
“This is the largest deployment of domestic and international observers in the history of elections in Nigeria,” Yakubu said.
He said reports and recommendations of observers and knowledge gathered from study tours had helped INEC to improve on processes.
“The progressive improvement in our electoral democracy since 1999 draws in part from the reports of observers and 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.”
He warned the accredited observers, not to interfere with the electoral process, but to keep to their roles of observing and later filing their reports.
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“Today’s briefing for observers is in keeping with international good practice.
“I wish to remind observers that there is a Code of Conduct for election observation.
“You are by definition observers; do not interfere with the process or show partisanship.
“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,’’ the chairman warned.
Responding, the Regional Director of International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Africa, Ms Clara Cole, remarked that election observation played a critical role.
Cole added that observers had contributed to improving elections.
“Election observation exposes irregularities and provides recommendations for improvements of elections.
“Hence, this briefing session provides an opportunity for INEC to lay emphasis on procedures, guidelines and innovations for observers who are participating in this process,’’ she said.
She advised all international and national observers to adhere to the guidelines in carrying out their roles during the elections.
The regional director pledged the continued support of IFES for INEC to continue to meet its mandate to conduct free, credible and successful elections.
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