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EU pledges impartial observation prior, after electoral process

Ms Maria Arena, with members of EU Election monitoring group with President Buhari

Ms Maria Arena, with members of EU Election monitoring group with President Buhari

Ms Maria Arena, Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission(EU EOM) on Tuesday, said the mission would be impartial in its assessment of the 2019 electoral process.

Arena made the pledge at the pre-election news conference organised by the EU EOM on Tuesday in Abuja.

She said that the Mission was saddled with the responsibility of collection of information of the electoral process, publish its findings, make recommendations and ensure the election was transparent and credible.

She disclosed that the mission comprised of 11 election experts in Abuja and 40 experienced long-term observers, who had been deployed in pairs to cover all states across the country.

According to her, more than 70 observers are expected on both election days and during post-election period.

“We will assess electoral process against Nigeria’s law and international commitments in relation to democratic elections.

Arena said “the Election Observation Mission is completely neutral, independent and impartial.

“All our observers abide by a code of conduct, which insists we maintain strict neutrality in the course of our work. No interference, only to monitor the election and collect findings.

“We are not interested in the results; we are here to make sure the election is transparent. We have a mandate to only collect information concerning the electoral process and then to publish our findings and make recommendations.

“In the run up to election day, observers will analyse the campaign environment, the election preparations, legal framework, the role of civil society and the media.

“On election day, they will observe the opening of polling units, the voting process, counting of votes, tabulation of results and election complaints and appeals that arise before, during and after.

“The EU mission will assess the conduct of the media by monitoring key TV and radio stations, as well as newspapers and social media.

“Shortly after both election days, we will issue a preliminary statement giving our initial assessment of the electoral process up to that point.

“We are here in the spirit of cooperation with Nigeria; we stand ready to deliver an impartial, objective assessment of the electoral process.”

The chief observer identified transparency and accountability of all the institutions involved in the election as key to winning public trust and confidence in the process.

She urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and security forces to provide real-time information on actions that they have so far taken to achieve target.

She further urged states and political parties to play their part to achieve desired free, fair and peaceful process before, during and after election.

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