Election: Independent Foreign Observers score polls high
Independent Foreign Observers Mission in Nigeria has released a preliminary report about the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections in Nigeria.
Nigerians went into the polls on Saturday, 25th February 2025, to elect their President and Members of the 10th National Assembly.
The results of the elections which were held across the country, are being collated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials in Abuja.
Rising from its meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the foreign Observers, drawn from several countries in Europe and America with a common goal of monitoring the presidential election in Nigeria, described Saturday’s poll as “peaceful” and “transparent”.
“The presidential elections in Nigeria recorded a high turnout of voters nationwide. It can also be regarded as one of the most transparent elections in the country’s history, with the significant candidates recording victories and defeats”, the statement made available to newsmen after the meeting reads in part.
On the turnout of voters, the Observers Mission said, “the presidential elections witnessed a comparatively large turnout of voters in the various geopolitical zones compared to recent General Elections in the country. The South West and the South East Zones witnessed the highest number of voters turnout, with eligible voters demonstrating an uncommon level of patience to exercise their franchise”.
It stressed that INEC deployed both sensitive and non-sensitive materials to voting points on time, even though the report recorded some delays in some areas, which it said did not deter voters from performing their civic duties.
On votes buying, the Foreign Mission observed that Saturday’s polls recorded minimal incidences across the country.
The reason adduced is that Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) randomly visited polling units unannounced to arrest anyone involved in such acts. The country’s recent redesign of its currency, the naira reduced vote buying to the bearest minimum.
As experienced in Nigeria’s 2015 and 2019 General Elections, the Observers said “social media platforms were deployed across political parties in a manner that could have potentially undermined votes, a situation that became especially worse on the part of supporters of candidates whose parties were not winning the votes.
“Such supporters took to social media to announce their candidates as being in early leads based on the announcement of results from a few dozen of polling units. This situation significantly contributed to the allegations of vote manipulation that almost gained traction in the mainstream”.
The Mission praised some political parties and their candidates for honouring the Peace Accord and not inciting their supporters, especially the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), urging other political parties to take the cue.
It said, “the post-election statements by candidates and their supporters have been somewhat inciting. The candidates of the opposition parties have been credited with statements with the potential to heat the polity and cause unrest. It must be noted that the allegations of infractions are on the basis of speculation and not facts on the ground.
“The candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) so far displayed a high sense of commitment to the integrity of the electoral process in his reaction to losing Lagos to the Labor Party candidate. The promptness with which the party called its supporters to maintain calm in Lagos doused an otherwise charged situation”.
While praising the security agencies for being proactive and civil, the foreign Observers urged other Observers groups of supra-national organizations, “to moderate their utterances and reporting in order not to descend into partisanship as they are currently tending towards”.
Those present at the Statement Hotel, Central Area, Abuja for Tuesday’s briefing include Messrs Rudolf Elmendorp, Stuart Young, David Furnad, Stuart Dyer, Francois DeRobaix and Jeffrey Fry; amongst other supporting and technical members.