– EU observers have rated INEC’s conduct of the 2019 general elections very low in their final report released on Saturday, June 15
– EU EOM’s head of mission Arena says both the electoral umpire, political parties and security agencies combined to make the 2019 general elections a very poor process
– The observers also faulted the poor timing and hasty prosecution of former Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnoghen so close to the elections because it affected judiciary’s independence
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has knocked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the poor conduct of the 2019 general elections.
The Nation reports that the EU observers also faulted the actions of political parties and security agencies in the elections.
Making its findings public at a press briefing on Saturday, June 15, the observers said there were shortcomings in INEC’s operations while leading political parties were at fault for not controlling their supporters who unleashed violence on electorates.
The observers also scolded security agencies for not preventing violence and for maltreating electorates and electoral personnel in some areas.
The EU observers 30 recommendations to INEC to help it improve on the conduct of future elections.
The EU report was read to pressmen present by the the Head of Mission, Maria Arena.
Arena called for more transparency in the operations of INEC in future elections.
”Such reform needs political leadership that is dedicated to the rights of Nigerian citizens, and an inclusive process of national dialogue involving state institutions, parties, civil society and the media,” said EU Chief Observer, Maria Arena, at a press conference in Abuja.
”This needs to be urgently undertaken to allow time for debate, legislative changes and implementation well in advance of the next elections,” she added.
“Overall, the EU EOM concluded the 2019 elections were marked by severe operational and transparency shortcomings, electoral security problems and low turnout. Positively, however, the elections were competitive, parties were able to campaign and civil society enhanced accountability.”
The EU EOM said leading parties “were at fault in not reining in acts of violence and intimidation by their supporters, and abuse of incumbency at federal and state levels.”
The EU EOM’s report stated that, “except for federal radio, state media primarily served the interests of the president or the governor at state level, journalists were subjected to harassment, and scrutiny of the electoral process was at times compromised with some independent observers being obstructed in their work, including by security agencies.”
The Observers also knocked federal government for the poor timing and lack of due process in the prosecution of Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnoghen so close to the elections. The action, they claimed, affected independence of the judiciary in the electoral process.
The report read: ”The EU EOM also noted the suspension of the chief justice by the president a few weeks before the elections, which it said was seen to lack due process and reportedly undermined judicial independence.
“Other issues highlighted in the report include: conflicting and late rulings on electoral disputes that undermined opportunity for remedy and created uncertainty; the dysfunctional regulatlon of political finance; very few electoral offences resulting in arrest or prosecution; problems With the collection of permanent voter cards; and the further fall in the number of women elected.”
The report however, noted that parties and candidates were able to campaign, with freedoms of assembly. expression and movement largely respected
Legit.ng had reported earlier that the EU EOM on Friday, June 14 submitted its findings and recommendations on the 2019 general elections to INEC.
EU Chief Observer, Maria Arena, while submitting the report to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu in Abuja, said that the union would on Saturday make public the report of its monitoring of the elections.
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