By Aaron Ossai
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC said it has accredited 299 groups both local and international that will deploy a total of 146.800 observers to the field nationwide for the 2023 general elections.
Speaking when he briefed the observers in Abuja, the Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said that it has accredited 196 national or domestic groups deploying 144,800 observers, 33 international groups deploying 2,113 observers nationwide.
He said deployment was the largest deployment of domestic and international observers in the history of elections in Nigeria.
According to the Chairman, the briefing for observers was in keeping with international good practice and reminded them that there is a code of conduct for election observation and by definition, they remain 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”, he said.
According t Yakubu, 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”, he added.