Seek redress in court for electoral disputes, observer missions urge political parties

Seek redress in court for electoral disputes, observer missions urge political parties

- Foreign observation missions in Nigeria have appealed to aggrieved political parties and candidates in the elections to seek redress only in courts

- The international observers also asked parties and politicians to avoid spreading fake news around

- The foreign missions said they noticed instances where conduct do not adhere to electoral guidelines

The joint international observation mission of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) have urged political parties and candidates in the February 23 general elections to seek redress in courts on electoral disputes.

The 40-member observer group, which was deployed to the six geopolitical zones of the country, called on the political parties and the candidates to refrain from disseminating false information to citizens, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The leader of the delegation and former vice president of The Gambia, Fatoumata Tambajang, made the call on Monday, February 25, at a news conference in Abuja on the preliminary report of the elections.

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“In the spirit of international cooperation, the NDI/IRI mission urge Nigerians to address immediate and longer-term challenges to inclusive and credible elections.

"Therefore, political parties and their candidates should channel all the electoral complaints and disputes, should they arise, through established legal processes," she said.

Tambajang enjoined them to respect the rule of law and called on their supporters to remain peaceful before, during and after the announcement of results.

According to her: “You should reconfirm commitment to the national peace accord and existing codes of conduct by denouncing members or supporters who incite violence."

The team leader, who said the group’s observers, reported cases of violence, disruption and intimidation of voters in some polling units, condoled with the victims and their families. She said the observers noted with concern numerous instances in which the secrecy of the ballot was not protected in contravention of the election procedure.

“For example, voting cubicles were not provided in all polling units. Moreover, party agents in many polling units observed provided assistance to voters in violation of procedures.

“While observers noted few cases of overt vote buying, they reported that less visible forms of voter coercion may have influenced the integrity of the process," she said.

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Tanbajang said though INEC extended voting period to make up for delayed polling unit openings, NDI/IRI observers found that the notification to extend the hours did not reach some polling officials.

NAN also reports that the president of NDI, Ambassador Derek Mitchell, and IRI President, Mr Daniel Twining, were among those at the news conference.

Recall that earlier reported that some foreign observers commended the Independent National Electoral Commission and Nigerians for transparency and credibility of the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections.

The team under the platform of Independent Foreign Observers at a press conference on Sunday, February 24, in Abuja said from the reports filed in by their observers deployed all around Nigeria, there was a high turnout of voters across the country. ( -> Same great journalism, upgraded for better service!

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