The European Union, in response to the invitation by the Independent National Electoral Commission has decided to deploy an EU Election Observation Mission to monitor the 2023 general elections scheduled for 25 February and 11 March, 2023.
According to a statement by the EU on Wednesday, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, the union has appointed, a member of the European Parliament, Barry Andrews, as Chief Observer for the EOM to Nigeria.
The statement also reveals that the EU had previously deployed Election Observation Missions to Nigeria for the 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 elections.
Daily Post reported that Borrell said, “These elections will be crucial for the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria, and for the stability of the region. This is the sixth time that the EU deploys an election observation mission to Nigeria, reflecting our commitment to work together to consolidate democracy in the country.
“The elections are set to be competitive and will take place in a challenging security context. It is our hope that Nigerians will be able to cast their vote in a peaceful environment and that any challenges or disputes will be solved through dialogue or through available legal remedies.”
Andrews, according to the statement, also said, “I am very pleased to have been entrusted with the responsibility for leading this EU Election Observation Mission. The mission is taking place during a period of time when democracy around the globe is in decline.
“The forthcoming General Elections are therefore not only a key moment in Nigeria’s democratic development but also important to the future of democracy in West Africa and the continent at large. I am looking forward to meeting with electoral stakeholders that are playing important roles in the ongoing electoral process.”
According to the statement, the EU EOM will provide a comprehensive, independent and impartial assessment of the electoral process based on international and regional standards for democratic elections.
The Core Team of the EU EOM consists of 11 election experts who will arrive in Abuja during the first half of January. Towards the end of January, 40 long-term observers will join the mission to be deployed across the country and follow the electoral campaign.
Thereafter, short-term observers from the EU diplomatic community as well as Canada, Norway and Switzerland will reinforce the mission during election day. The EU EOM is expected to remain in the country until the completion of the electoral process.