The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria has released a preliminary statement stating that the just concluded presidential and National Assembly elections in Nigeria were not transparent enough.
According to the mission, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had its operational capacity hampered by the ongoing fuel and Naira shortages, which resulted in a troubling electoral security environment. Furthermore, there were allegations of vote buying, and the abuse of incumbency advantage distorted the playing field for the candidates.
During the election day, the trust in INEC reduced even further due to delayed polling processes and information gaps related to access to results on its Results Viewing Portal. The mission is still observing the ongoing collation and tabulation of results throughout the country.
Despite the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and the IReV, there were delays in training technical personnel, inadequate mock testing exercises, and a lack of public information on the election technologies, which diminished expectations and left room for speculation and uncertainty.
The EU EOM expressed concerns over the low level of participation of women and youth in the party primaries, which were marked by a lack of transparency and inclusiveness. In conclusion, the EU EOM noted the highly competitive campaign, but also pointed out the lack of prosecution of electoral offences and a significant increase in violent incidents, including attacks on candidates, aimed at disturbing the elections and suppressing voter participation.