Ahead of the forthcoming general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission said it has recorded the highest number of election observers in the history of Nigeria.
INEC reported that the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the disclosure at the meeting with accredited election observers held at the Commission headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to Yakubu, about 229 groups would be deploying 146,913 local and international observers for the 2023 general election, the largest deployment of domestic and international observers in the history of elections in Nigeria.
The INEC boss admonished the observers to avoid being partisans and detach themselves from the process, noting that he was convinced that like in previous elections, the reports and recommendations of the observers in the forthcoming general elections would be useful to the commission.
He said, ”I wish to remind observers that there is a code of conduct for election observation. You are by definition observers. Do not interfere with the process or show partisanship. In addition, international observers must be guided by the fact that the election is conducted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria whose sovereignty must be respected.
“In line with global good practice, electoral commissions in most jurisdictions invite national and international organisations to deploy observers or organise study tours for election managers during elections.
“As a consequence, observers submit reports to electoral commissions highlighting strengths and weaknesses of processes. Arising from study tours, election managers also learn from other jurisdictions. The reports and recommendations of observers and the knowledge from the study tours help electoral commissions to progressively improve processes.
“The progressive improvement in our electoral democracy since 1999 draws in part from the reports of observers and the study tours. That is why over the years, the Commission has sent open or specific invitations to national and international observers. The implication is that all accredited observers are guests of INEC.”