2019: INEC Reviews Guidelines for Election Monitoring
The Independent National Electoral Commission has turned down applications by some support groups of candidates contesting the 2019 general elections to monitor the elections, its chairman, Prof. Mahmo0d Yakubu, has said.
According to him, only neutral observers would be accredited, adding that the guidelines for the accreditation of election observers had also been revised.
The commission said that all officials of the commission must remain neutral in the discharge of their duties and committed to protecting the sanctity of the process.
He said, “As we approach the 2019 general elections, the commission will pay attention to the conduct of our own officials from the headquarters to the State and Local government areas, including ad-hoc staff engaged in or their agents to subvert the electoral process.
“We will not tolerate the complicity of staff with political actors or their agents to subvert the electoral process. All officials of the commission must remain neutral in the discharge of their duties and committed to protecting the sanctity of the process.”
Yakubu stated these in Abuja on Friday during the inauguration of the new Secretary of INEC, Mrs. Rose Oriaran-Anthony, where he vowed that the commission would not tolerate the complicity of it staff with political actors or their agents to subvert the electoral process in the forthcoming elections.
Oriaran-Anthony is the third Secretary of INEC and the second woman to be so appointed since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999.
She had served the commission for 28 years, rising to the position of a Director before her appointment.
Yakubu described the application by support groups of candidates contesting the 2019 general elections as election observers as “unacceptable.”
The INEC chairman stressed that election observers should be neutral groups who should only be interested in the process and not agents of political parties, candidates or campaign organisations.
He explained that the purpose of accrediting observers for elections remained a noble exercise intended to increase the transparency of the process.
Yakubu said that the reports of observers also serve as a useful feedback mechanism for strengthening the electoral process.
Speaking further on the request of some support groups of candidates contesting elections to observe the elections, Yakubu said such requests had no basis
He said, “Similarly, for the 2019 general elections, the commission has been inundated by applications from several groups within the country for accreditation to observe the elections, including support groups of candidates contesting in the elections.
“This is unacceptable to the commission. Observers are neutral groups interested only in the process and not agents of political parties, candidates or campaign. The purpose of accrediting observers for elections is a noble one intended to increase the transparency and openness of the process.
“It is therefore counter-productive for such an important process to become an all-comers business. Going forward, the commission has revised the guidelines for the accreditation of (election) observers. Interested organisations are required to apply to the commission.”
The details of the application process, he said, would be published this weekend and early next week in national newspapers and on the INEC website.
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