The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) completed a second pre-election assessment mission as part of their joint observation of Nigeria’s 2023 general elections that are set to take place on February 25, 2023. The assessment mission reviewed the current political and electoral environment in the lead-up to the 2023 general elections, assessed preparations for the general elections, and offered recommendations to enhance citizen confidence in the process, and mitigate the potential for electoral violence. The mission was conducted to demonstrate international support for Nigeria’s democratic process.
The delegates of the mission included Ambassador Michelle Gavin, Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; Judge Dhaya Pillay, Commissioner at the Electoral Commission of South Africa; Ellen Dingani, Programmes Director of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network; Gregory Kearns, IRI Director for Africa; and Dr. Sophia Moestrup, NDI Deputy Director for Central and West Africa.
“The strength of Nigeria’s democracy matters for the future of the country, the region, and the world,” said Ambassador Gavin. “Insecurity, increasing political violence, and impunity are serious challenges, but the new electoral law and strong voter registration numbers are cause for optimism. All stakeholders – from candidates and their supporters to election and security officials – have a chance to put the people of Nigeria first and ensure that the 2023 elections are transparent and credible.”
The delegation met with an array of election stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Assembly, the National Orientation Agency, National Youth Service Corps, the National Peace Committee, National Union of Road Transport Workers, civil society, the media, security forces, diplomatic missions, presidential candidates and their campaign teams, as well as representatives of religious and socio-cultural groups. The delegation expresses its deep appreciation to everyone with whom it met for sharing their insights, from which the mission benefited greatly. The delegation conducted its activities in accordance with the laws of Nigeria and the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, which was signed in 2005 at the United Nations.
NDI and IRI have deployed international election observation missions to every general election in Nigeria since its 1999 transition from military to civilian democratic rule.
IRI and NDI are nonpartisan, nongovernmental organizations that support and strengthen democratic institutions and practices worldwide. The Institutes have collectively observed more than 200 elections in more than 50 countries over the last 30 years. NDI and IRI will deploy a joint international delegation to observe the 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections. The delegation’s work was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).