Two international election observers, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), have thrown their weight behind the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s postponement of the 2019 general elections.
The observers in a joint statement sent to journalists on Monday, February 18 by Tony Awesu, head of media of NDI, said INEC’s decision will ensure credible polls.
According to Awesu, NDI/IRI fully endorsed the postponement of the 2019 elections in Nigeria and will continue to support Nigeria’s democratic development.
He said: “IRI and NDI mission appreciates INEC’s commitment to hold credible elections; we understand it is better to delay the elections than to disenfranchise voters due to logical obstacles.
“NDI and IRI regret that INEC underestimated the challenges associated with the administration of the elections, leading to the decision to postpone them.
“As we have done in past three pre-election statements issued between July and December 2018, we urge INEC to ensure transparency and better communicate electoral processes, to build trust of Nigerians.
“Moreover, we encourage the commission to take sufficient steps to secure materials and apply lessons learned for these and future elections.
“The mission urges Nigerians to continue to remain calm and patient as the electoral process unfolds.”
He described the electoral period as a time for Nigerians across all spectrum to unite for peaceful and successful elections on February 23 and March 9.
He said that the observation mission delegation would remain in the country for the rest of the electoral process to achieve the desired goals.
He noted that in spite of repeated assurances that logistic arrangements had been made, it was wrong for the commission to have waited until morning before announcing postponement of the election.
He, however, advised Nigerians to remain calm and patient as the electoral processes unfolded, adding that there should be caution as whatever happened in Nigeria could impact negatively across Africa.
Meanwhile, the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and its partners have expressed disappointment over the postponement of the 2019 general elections, saying the decision of INEC has socio-economic and political consequences for all stakeholders.
This was the position of the group at a press briefing on Saturday, February 16, in Abuja, even as it urged Nigerians not to be discouraged but to come out en masse on February 23 and March 9 to exercise their civic rights.
WANEP also called on the international community, partners and domestic observers not to be deterred or lose faith in Nigeria’s electoral process, urging them to remain resolute in their support to ensure peaceful and credible elections.