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2015 European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) Report
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) was among the one hundred and seven (107) groups accredited to observe the 2015 General Elections in Nigeria.
The Mission – whose mandate is to collect and verify information concerning the election process, analyse the observations and then, after the elections, publish its findings – was led to Nigeria by a Chief Observer, Santiago Fisas Ayxela (MEP), accompanied by analysts, observers and EU diplomats.
The 59-paged report published by the Mission saw the 2015 elections as historic, highly competitive but also marred by incidents of violence, abuse of incumbency at state and federal levels, and attempts at manipulation.
The Mission commended the attempts by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to strengthen electoral arrangements, but frowned at government-controlled media who failed to provide legally-required equal coverage, clearly advantaging incumbents.
In the report, the Mission gives seven (7) priority recommendations, listed below:
1. Establish a more inclusive parliamentary mechanism for cross-party involvement in the selection and approval of the INEC Chairperson and National Commissioners. INEC’s independence should be further developed through direct power to appoint and remove Resident Electoral Commissioners.
2. After a thorough review of the 2010/2014 registration processes, elaborate a plan for developing and maintaining the voter register, to include improving biometric functionality, removal of the deceased, and extended enrolment of new registrants. Such processes should be subject to stronger INEC supervisory checks with greater scrutiny from agents, observers and the media.
3. Merge accreditation and voting processes on election day for ease of access for voters, while maintaining other safeguards, in particular mandatory biometric voter identification (through the use of voter cards and card readers).
4. The Constitution should be amended to allow for independent candidacy for all elected positions.
5. National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) regulatory authority should be strengthened (including through the power to grant broadcasting licenses), its monitoring capacities developed, and requirements be established for NBC public reporting on monitoring findings and sanctions applied.
6. Reasonable and appropriate time limits for the effective filing, hearing and determination of preelection suits should be established in the legal framework in order for cases to be completed well in advance of election day.
7. Political parties should be required to have policies and provide regular information on the promotion of women’s political participation within the party, as candidates, and more widely. Consideration be given to requiring parties to have a minimum representation of women in leadership positions and as candidates.