EU to deploy 100 observers for 2023 polls

According to the European Union Election Observation Mission, 100 observers will be deployed for the 2023 elections.

This was stated by the EU EOM's Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, during the launch of the EU EOM to Nigeria 2023 on Monday in Abuja.

According to Andrews, the EU EOM was deployed in response to an invitation from the Independent National Electoral Commission, and it began its work on January 11, 2023, with the arrival of a core team of 11 experts with expertise in various aspects of elections.

He also stated that this is the seventh EU EOM to visit Nigeria since 1999, and that for the first time in Nigeria, the mission will include a dedicated Election Technology Analyst who will assess the use of technologies, particularly voter verification and results transmission.

"The structure of our team is that we have the Chief Observer, Deputy Chief Observer, and we have 11 in our core team, and they have been here since January 11th," the Chief Observer explained. We have election analysts, political analysts, media experts, social media analysts, and mainstream analysts on staff. We deployed 40 long-term observers in 20 teams of two across the country yesterday, 29 January, and we will rely on their observations and inputs from the data they were able to assemble, as well as meetings with stakeholders, to help us complete the work we are currently working on.

"We will be examining the implementation of the Electoral Act and all the changes that have taken place and the challenges that are peculiar to Nigeria. Each election environment has its own characteristics, and we are aware of all of those that affect the country. Concerns have been raised about new technology, the full implementation of the Electoral Act, and the work of INEC.

"We will also deploy short-term observers in the immediate running of election which would be locally recruited. We are grateful for the cooperation; not only are the EU delegations present, but Canada, Norway, and Switzerland have also contributed short-term observers. We would eventually have 100 observers who would cover the election day itself. On February 25 and March 11, 100 observers will monitor the voting, counting, and tabulation procedures."

Andrew also stated that two days after the general election, a preliminary statement would be issued based on the data and observations of long-term observers.

"The EU EOM will issue a preliminary statement two days after each election day and will remain in Nigeria until the entire electoral process, including complaints and appeals processes, and any possible second round of presidential election," he said.

However, the Chief Observer urges "the authorities, candidates, and political parties to commit to peaceful conduct prior to, during, and after election day."

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