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International observers in Nigeria

International observers react to postponement of Nigerian elections

17 February 2019

Heads of international observation missions in Nigeria have called for calm in the nation, following 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,” said a joint statement  issued by leaders of eight international observer missions, including the Commonwealth Observer Group, as well as the United Nations.

“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,” said the statement.

The general elections were scheduled to take place on 16th February, but have now been postponed to the 23rd February, while relevant preparations are finalised.

The joint statement was signed by the following:

  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Election Observation Mission - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia
  • African Union Election Observation Mission - Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia
  • Commonwealth Observer Group - Jakaya Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania
  • Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa Election Observation Mission - Rupiah Banda, former President of Zambia
  • European Union Election Observation Mission - Maria Arena, Belgian Member of the European Parliament
  • National Democratic Institute/International Republican Institute Election Observation Mission - Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana and Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, former President of Latvia
  • Organisation of Islamic Cooperation - Boubakar Adamou, Director of African Political Affairs
  • United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel – Mohamed Ibn Chambas

Read the full statement