Two U.S.-based political think tanks, International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute have deployed a 40-member joint international election observation mission to Nigeria ahead of the 2023 elections.
The delegation, including political leaders, civil society elections experts, and regional specialists from 20 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America, received accreditation from the Independent National Electoral Commission to observe the February 25 elections.
The delegation is led by former President of the Republic of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda who would be joined by President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Ambassador Mark Green; former Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Ambassador Johnnie Carson.
Others are IRI board member, Constance Berry Newman; Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Centre; NDI board member, Stacey Abrams, American political leader, lawyer, and voting rights activist; and IRI board member, Dana White and foreign policy and communications advisor.
The NDI President, Ambassador Derek Mitchell, and IRI President, Dr. Daniel Twining, would also participate in the mission.
The two organisations have deployed international election observation missions to every general election in Nigeria since its 1999 transition from military to civilian democratic rule.
Banda said the mission of the delegation is to show support for, and solidarity with Nigerian democrats.
“These elections are of tremendous significance for the country and the region as a whole. I encourage all voters to participate and make their voices heard through the ballot box”, she said.
Mitchell said the joint deployment is “a testament to the continuous commitment of our organizations to Nigeria’s democracy.”
“We are honoured to support the Nigerian people in this pivotal election, and contribute to the continued strengthening of their country’s electoral processes and democratic institutions.
“We celebrate the commitment of the Nigerian people to making their voices heard through the democratic political process.
“We are here in support of credible, free, and fair elections and urge all electoral stakeholders to remain peaceful throughout the election process”, Twining said.
The mission will conduct a substantive and detailed analysis of the process in various areas, including election administration, citizen participation, gender and inclusion, election security, legal framework, information environment, and political parties and campaigning.
On election day, IRI/NDI would visit polling stations in 20 states across all six geopolitical regions of Nigeria to observe the various aspects of the elections and the administration of the poll, including the opening, voting, tabulation, transmission, and publication of results.
The joint IEOM follows two joint pre-election assessment missions conducted in July and December of 2022, which made recommendations on actions that could enhance the credibility of the elections.
The delegation will conduct its activities in accordance with the laws of Nigeria and the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, which was adopted by the United Nations in 2005.
The delegation’s work is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.