INEC to partner NILDS on November polls
The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have agreed to work towards ensuring the conduct of a free and fair poll in the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa governorship polls. The development was made public when NILDS submitted its 2019 National Assembly and Presidential Elections Observation Report to the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Prof. Mahmood expressed optimism that NILDS would surely play a key role in the monitoring of the electioneering process in the November 16 polls in the two states. Represented by INEC Commissioner and chairperson, Election and Party Monitoring Committee, Prof. Antonia Simbine, the chairman commended the role played by NILDS in straightening democratic rule in the country.
He, however, expressed disappointment that, in spite of the fact that report writing is a major criterion for INEC accreditation of Observer Groups, INEC received reports from only 50 election observer groups.
According to the INEC chairman, “A total of 120 observer groups were accredited to observe the 2019 National Assembly and Presidential Elections across the 36 states and the FCT, made up of 34 international observer groups. Three months after the elections, only 54 Election Observer Groups have so far submitted reports to INEC. We take Observer Reports very seriously, as recommendations of observer groups would greatly help to improve the electoral system.”
Simbine assured that partnership with NILDS in the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa elections would be greatly appreciated, even as she warned that INEC might not give accreditation in subsequent elections to groups that fail to submit reports.
Earlier, NILDS’s Director-General, Prof. Abubakar Olanrewaju Sulaiman, had observed that both INEC and NILDS have a joint responsibility of ensuring the improvement of not only the electoral process, but also developing and enhancing the processes of governance and democratic culture of Nigerians.
Sulaiman stated: “I believe that the findings, observations and recommendations as contained in the report would be useful for future improvements on the electoral process, deepening of Nigeria’s democracy and beneficial to Nigeria and the international community.”
He recalled that NILDS had on February 23, 2019, deployed a total of 104 observers comprising many academics to participate as the institute’s Institutional Election Observation Group, in the six geo-political zones across the country for the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
The exercise, he noted, took place in 25 states of the federation, including, Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba, Bauchi, Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Zamfara, Plateau, Kwara, Benue, Niger, Kogi, Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Delta, Edo, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Imo, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It would be recalled also that the 2019 polls was the second time the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies is participating in the Observation of General Elections in Nigeria. Being a non-partisan body, the institution remains a centre of excellence on legislative practice, procedure and democracy and a core centre for capacity building in democratic governance. It was established as an organ of the National Assembly committed to providing technical support services and manpower development for democratic institutions.
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