EU calls for electoral reforms, speaks on 2019 election

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) to Nigeria has called for electoral reforms after the 2019 general elections.

Ms Maria Arena, the missions Chief Observer, made the recommendation at the second presentation of its preliminary report on Monday in Abuja, NAN reports.

Arena said that the Election Observation Mission supported the electoral reforms proposed by civic society organizations in Nigeria.

“Following the 2019 general elections, the mission has observed that there is urgent need for electoral reform in Nigeria.

“The systemic failings and electoral security problems of the last few weeks and months show that there is real need for serious electoral reforms in Nigeria.

“While there were operational improvements in the March 9 elections, they were overshadowed by troubling electoral security and violence, abuse of incumbency and institutional failings.

“We echo the view of civic society organizations calling for an urgent need to restore faith in the electoral process.

“We solidly support the civic society organizations calling for reforms that will bring greater integrity to the electoral process in Nigeria,” she said.

Ms Arena emphasised on improving the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and other important actors prior to the next general elections.

“As the 2019 elections in Nigeria demonstrate, there are important improvements to be made.

“The systemic problem evident in the 2019 election process shows there is the need for an inclusive national discussion on reform for greater electoral integrity.

“There are important improvements to be made, trust needs to be restored to the electorate.

“INEC should be able to carry out its work freely, securely and neutrally,” she added.

The Chief Observer hinted that one of the mission’s recommendations would be encouraging Nigeria to revisit the electoral rules.

“Nigeria needs to revisit the electoral rules and agree on key reforms long before the next general elections.

“Change and improvements don’t happen overnight, reforms should neither be rushed nor left to the last moment.

“We encourage a national conversation on electoral reforms, and strongly believe that it would contribute meaningfully to Nigeria’s democratic development.”