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EU Faults 2023 General Elections, Blasts INEC For Lack of Transparency

by Victor Ndubuisi

According to the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM), the presidential selection of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) leadership makes the electoral body exposed to the perception of favoritism.

The group said that the 2023 general elections did not follow the INEC-promised transparent and inclusive democratic procedure.

The EU EOM acknowledged this in its final report, which was released on Tuesday in Abuja, citing the lack of independent INEC institutions and capacities to impose punishments for election offences and violations of campaign financing regulations as a weakness.

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The group noted that public faith in INEC was seriously harmed during the presidential election and was not restored in state-level elections, prompting civil society to advocate for an independent audit of the entire process.


The EU EOM made 23 proposals for Nigerian authorities to consider, all of which would help to improve future elections.

The report reads, “The widely welcomed Electoral Act 2022 (the 2022 Act) introduced measures aimed at building stakeholder trust.

“However, the Act’s first test in a general election revealed crucial gaps in terms of INEC’s accountability and transparency, proved to be insufficiently elaborated, and lacked clear provisions for timely and efficient implementation.


“Weak points include a lack of INEC independent structures and capacities to enforce sanctions for electoral offences and breaches of campaign finance rules.

“Furthermore, the presidential selection of INEC leadership at the federal and state level leaves the electoral institution vulnerable to the perception of partiality.

“Closer to the polls some started to doubt INEC’s administrative and operational efficiency and in-house capacity. Public confidence gradually decreased and was severely damaged on 25 February due to its operational failures and lack of transparency.


“While some corrective measures introduced before the 18 March elections were effective, overall trust was not restored.”

During a news conference in Abuja, the Chief Observer, EU EOM, Barry Andrews, stated that his team worked on the INEC’s invitation between 11 January and 11 April.

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He said: “We are particularly concerned about the need for reform in six areas which we have identified as priority recommendations, and we believe, if implemented, could contribute to improvements for the conduct of elections.”

The six priority recommendations emphasize the importance of removing ambiguities in the law, establishing a publicly accountable selection process for INEC members, ensuring real-time publication and access to election results, providing greater protection for media practitioners, addressing discrimination against women in political life, and ending impunity for electoral offenses.

However, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, told journalists after the presentation that they are going to harmonise all of the reports presented by international observers and look at the reports holistically.


He said, “We are going to harmonise all the reports by international observers that have been presented and we are going to look at the reports holistically.

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“From the report presented, the EU made mention of the fact that there have been significant improvements in our electoral process and there have been so many positives to this particular election.

“One of the positives is that we registered over 93 million Nigerians during this election. Not only that if you look at the reports submitted by international observers, in terms of voters accreditation, the BVAS performed optimally.”

“There were challenges, promising that recommendations from international observers would be worked on and implemented,” the statement added.



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