The head of the European Union Election Observation Mission in Nigeria, Mr. Barry Andrews, says the mission will only observe and not interfere in the February 25 and March 11 elections.
Barry made this known at a press conference held Monday in Abuja on the purpose of the mission in Nigeria.
He said the mandate of the EU EOM was to observe all aspects of the electoral process at the invitation of the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria.
“We will assess the extent to which the elections comply with international and regional commitments for the ballot box, as well as Nigerian law.
“The mission is independent in its findings from the EU Delegation to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS, EU member states, EU institutions and other international organisations,” it said.
The envoy added that the 2022 Electoral Law had introduced new measures aimed at improving various aspects of the conduct of elections.
He added: “As part of its overall analysis, the EU EOM will closely monitor its implementation.”
According to Barry, for the first time in Nigeria, the mission has a dedicated election technology analyst who is evaluating the use of technologies, especially voter verification and results transmission.
He said: “A media analyst and a social media analyst are also conducting an assessment of the role of traditional media as well as social media and digital communication during the process.
“The EU EOM started its work almost three weeks ago with the arrival of a core team of 11 experts with competence in various aspects of the elections.
“Since January 29, 40 long-term observers in teams of two have been following the electoral process in all states of Nigeria.
“This is combined with seven members of the European Parliament, along with some 40 locally recruited observers from 25 EU member states.”
Barry said that representatives of Switzerland, Norway and Canada in Nigeria would join the mission shortly before the elections.
According to him, in total, around 100 observers will observe the voting, counting and tabulation procedures on February 25 and March 11.
Barry said: “The EU EOM will issue a preliminary statement two days after each election day and will remain in Nigeria until the completion of the entire electoral process, including complaints, appeals processes and any possible runoff of the presidential election.” .
He said that the EU EOM was deployed following an invitation from INEC, adding that “all members of the mission are bound by a code of conduct, which demands strict impartiality and non-interference in elections.
“The EU EOM carries out its work in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Electoral Observation, commemorated at the United Nations.”
He Nigerian News Agency reports that the EU applies a consistent methodology to observe elections.
Observers do not interfere in the electoral process and have no authority to change or correct any deficiencies.
All EU election observers are subject to a strict code of conduct and ethical guidelines that guarantee their neutrality and impartiality.
The EU EOM seeks to increase public confidence in the electoral process without interfering in any way with the conduct of the elections or validating their results.