The European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) on Monday raised questions about the transparency of the elections in Nigeria.
In its preliminary report, EU EOM Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, said although INEC held the elections on schedule, the process was characterised by a lack of transparency.
“Overall, stakeholders had expressed confidence in INEC’s independence, professionalism, and voter information efforts, but this decreased ahead of elections. INEC lacked efficient planning and transparency during critical stages of the electoral process, while on election day trust in INEC was seen to further reduce due to delayed polling processes and information gaps related to much anticipated access to results on its Results Viewing Portal (IReV),” he said.
Mr Andrews said their findings showed election day was marked by late deployment and opening while polling procedures were not always followed.
Additionally, polling staff in the polling units they observed struggled to complete result forms, which were later not posted online.
He said despite introducing the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV) to ensure the credibility of the polls, uploading the results using the BVAS did not work as expected, raising concerns.
“Millions of Nigerian voters cast their vote in the Presidential, Senate and House of Representatives elections despite prevailing challenges. I commend the patience of voters as well as the commitment of youth, who have contributed hugely to the democratic process,” Mr Andrews said.
He encouraged stakeholders to remain peaceful as the collation of results continues.
“The tabulation exercise is still ongoing, and we will follow the processes until the end. I encourage stakeholders to continue demonstrating commitment to a peaceful process – before and after the results are announced. Any dispute arising from the electoral process should be addressed through established legal channels,” he advised.
The group also observed that INEC’s operational capacity was hampered by the recent cash crunch and almost the fuel crisis.
The EU EOM deployed 110 observers from EU member states as well as Canada, Norway and Switzerland for the general elections. The EU EOM is independent in its findings from EU Member States and all EU institutions.