Maria Arena

The European Union Election Observation Mission has stressed an urgent need to improve the electoral process in Nigeria and restore faith in the system.

The group said this in its final report released on the conduct of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria on Saturday.

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The EU EOM final report on the 2019 elections was presented by the EU Chief Observer, Maria Arena, and her deputy, Hannah Roberts, at a press conference in Abuja.

In the report, the group presented 30 recommendations to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which it says would help to improve future elections and restore faith in the process.

It stated that a lack of transparency and inconsistent numbers during the collation of results by INEC cast a long shadow over the integrity of the 2019 elections.

The group also commended INEC for implementing some of its recommendations after the 2015 elections.

It, however, noted that there is a great need for a more transparent results collation and transmission process in coming elections.

most all, the results forms and smart card readers were not packed in tamper-evident envelopes as required.

“Numerical discrepancies and anomalies on polling unit results forms were identified and were mostly corrected by collation officers on the spot, but without a clear system of record-keeping.”

It added, “Leading parties were at fault in not reining in acts of violence and intimidation by their supporters, and abuse of incumbency at federal and state levels.”

“Inconsistent numbers during collation, “lack of clear checks and explanations, and insufficient public information undermined the integrity of the elections.

“Citizens did not have sufficient means to scrutinise results. INEC did not provide centralised information on the declared results for the different locations and has not posted complete results data on its website.

“Similarly, there is a lack of disaggregated results by local government, ward or polling unit, which would allow for thorough checking of results.”

Meanwhile, the INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu had earlier promised to ensure the implementation of the groups recommendations.

He thanked the EU for their efforts, noting that they have been part of Nigerias progress towards democratic consolidation since 1999.