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Wademos launches report on Nigerian election,makes recommendations to sub-regional electoral body

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Press release

The West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network (WADEMOS) has launched its report on the 2023 Nigerian election, ending its intervention in the country. The Network is, however, closely monitoring the post-election developments in the country.

The report, which was released on April 25, 2023, presents the findings and recommendations, based on Wademos’ involvement in the Nigerian elections, aimed at promoting solidarity among members of the Network and to contribute to the improvement of the quality and credibility of elections in not only the sub-region but the African continent.

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Wademos, as part of its planned interventions conducted a pre-election solidarity and assessment mission to Nigeria. This offered the Network’s delegation insights into the sociopolitical context ahead of the election and also provided an opportunity to interact with key stakeholders and assess the level of preparedness for the election. Wademos also deployed an election-day observation and learning mission to Nigeria.

Providing highlights of some shortfalls observed by the Network, Paul Osei-Kuffour, acting Network Coordinator, stated that, “despite the prospects and optimism, the election was characterised by some irregularities, including the late arrival of INEC officials in some polling units, challenges with the deployment and arrival of sensitive and non-sensitive election materials and logistics at polling units, violence leading to voter suppression, and low voter turnout.”

“Going into the election, the BVAS and the IReV had become the major rallying points and reforms for mobilizing and convincing citizens that their votes would count and, as such, they should participate in the election. It is, therefore, not surprising that the failure of the IReV has become the main grounds for disputing and challenging the outcome of the February 25 election by opposition parties,” Paul Osei-Kuffour added.

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The Network, per the findings and observations contained in its report, indicated that the 2023 Nigerian elections present some valuable lessons for countries in the sub-region, especially those heading for elections in the next few months.

The Network therefore made a series of recommendations to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria, various electoral management bodies, and stakeholders for the improvement of the quality of elections in the sub-region.

Among others, the acting Wademos Network Coordinator recommended that “countries

within the sub-region deploy technology to enhance voting and collation of results and build confidence and trust in work of election management bodies. Again, INEC to review the performance of IReV and present its findings to the public, along with measures to forestall similar occurrences in future elections. Governments and EMBs should also avoid appointing partisans to the election management bodies as it undermines their independence.”

Wademos Network identified three national elections as the focal points for its election support work in the sub-region in 2023. These are the national elections in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. With the Nigerian elections done, the Network has shifted its priorities to the upcoming elections in Sierra Leone.

Wademos is a non-partisan, independent civil society-led transnational democracy solidarity network. It consists of over 35 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) located in 15 countries in West Africa. The Network mobilises, coordinates, and leverages the collective power of civil society and other pro-democracy actors, resources, and opportunities within the West African Region to advance, defend, and reinvigorate democracy and promote democratic norms and reforms in the sub-region.

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