Abuja, Nigeria — The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) joint international election observation mission for Nigeria’s 2019 elections released the following statement:
NDI/IRI fully endorse the Joint Statement on the Postponement of the 2019 Elections in Nigeria of election observation mission heads and continue to support Nigeria’s democratic development.
The IRI/NDI Mission appreciates INEC’s commitment to holding credible democratic elections. While we understand it is better to delay the elections than to disenfranchise voters due to logistical obstacles, NDI/IRI regret that INEC underestimated the challenges associated with the administration of the elections, leading to the decision to postpone them. Despite repeated assurances that logistical arrangements were in order, the Commission waited until the morning of the election to announce the delay.
As we have done in three pre-election statements issued between July and December 2018, we urge INEC to increase transparency and to better communicate about the electoral process to build trust with the citizens of Nigeria in the coming days and weeks. Moreover, we encourage the Commission to take sufficient steps to secure sensitive materials and apply lessons learned for these and future elections.
The IRI/NDI Mission urges the Nigerian people to continue to remain calm and patient as the electoral process unfolds. There are both challenges and opportunities in this difficult situation. As the continent’s largest economy and most populous nation, what happens in Nigeria has an impact across Africa and the world at large.
This is a period when Nigerians across the political spectrum can unite for peaceful and successful presidential and National Assembly elections on February 23 and the gubernatorial and state House of Assembly elections on March 9. The NDI/IRI election observation mission delegation will remain in country for the remainder of the electoral process.
Now in its 35th year, the National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government. More information on NDI and its work can be found at: www.ndi.org
The International Republican Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide. IRI enables political parties to become more issue-based and responsive, helps citizens to participate in government planning, and works to increase the role of marginalized groups in the political process. Visit www.iri.org to learn more.