The European Union’s Election observation team in Nigeria has said that there are still systemic flaws that could impede the functions of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The EU’s chief observer, Santiago Fisas, noted this as part of the team’s final report on the March and April 2015 general elections.
He spoke to journalists in Abuja to mark the end of its 10 months observance period of the 2015 elections.
Mr. Fisas said that while INEC appeared to have performed impartially despite challenges, its lack of full institutional independence could make it vulnerable to partisan operations.
“The law overly restricts INEC’s powers, rendering it insufficiently effective in challenging inappropriate actions,” he said.
Mr. Fisas said the EU was calling for the establishment of a more inclusive cross-party system for the appointment of INEC’s leaders.
He also urged Nigeria to develop a plan for maintaining the voter’s register after a thorough review of the 2010-2014 registration process.
The plan should include improving biometric functionality, removal of the deceased, as well as extending enrolment of new registrants, he said.
Other recommendations require INEC to merge accreditation and voting process on Election Day, while maintaining other safeguards.
It urged the amendment of the Constitution to allow independent candidacy at all levels, while the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) regulatory authority is strengthened to avoid abuse of incumbency, through the media.
Mr. Fisas said the EU also called on political parties to provide regular and adequate information on the promotion of women’s political participation, while ensuring reasonable time frame for the filing hearing and determination of pre-election suits.
He said the detailed recommendations were 30 in number, with 19 of them requiring a change in legislation, while others involve administrative actions by different bodies.