UN, international observers urge INEC to adhere to new election schedule

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (3rd, R); Chief Observer, EU Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019, Maria Arena (3rd, L); INEC Commissioners and other members of the Mission, during their visit to INEC headquarters in Abuja on Monday (21/1/19). 00706/21/1/2019/Hogan Bassey/BJO/NAN
FILE: INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (3rd, R); Chief Observer, EU Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019, Maria Arena (3rd, L); INEC Commissioners and other members of the Mission, during their visit to INEC headquarters in Abuja on Monday (21/1/19). 00706/21/1/2019/Hogan Bassey/BJO/NAN

The heads of the International Election Observation Missions and the United Nations on Saturday expressed disappointment following the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the 2019 general elections.

The groups in a joint statement to PREMIUM TIMES urge the INEC to use the new schedule to finalize all preparations and ensure the new election dates were strictly adhered to.

The full statement reads:

“We, the Heads of the international election observation missions and the United Nations present in Nigeria, have taken note of the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the 2019 general elections due to logistical and operational challenges.

“While we note that this decision has caused disappointment for many, we call on all Nigerians to continue to remain calm and supportive of the electoral process as INEC works to implement its new timeline.

“We urge INEC to use this time to finalise all preparations and ensure that the new election dates are strictly adhered to. We encourage INEC to provide regular updates and information to the public on its preparations in the coming days and weeks to enhance confidence and trust in the process.

“As we continue to closely observe preparations across the country, we stand in solidarity with the people of Nigeria in their desire for credible and peaceful elections.”

The statement was signed by Former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for the Economic Community of West African States Election Observation Mission; Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, for the African Union Election Observation Mission, and Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, for the Commonwealth Observer Group and Director of African Political Affairs, Boubakar Adamou, for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Others who signed the statement included Former President of Zambia, Rupiah Banda, for the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa Election Observation Mission; Belgian Member of the European Parliament, Maria Arena, European Union Election Observation Mission; Former President of Botswana Festus Mogae, and Former President of Latvia, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, National Democratic Institute/International Republican Institute Election Observation Mission, and United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

Following the postponement, the Chairman of INEC, Mamhoud Yakubu, said the Presidential and National Assembly election earlier scheduled for February 16 have been postponed to February 23, while the governorship and State Assembly and the FCT Councils have been rescheduled from March 2 to March 9.

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