Abuja, Nigeria − IRI today announced its delegation which will observe Nigeria’s April 16 presidential election. Representatives from Bangladesh, Canada, Estonia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mexico, Norway, Sierra Leone, Slovenia and the United States will observe voting and ballot counting throughout the country. Following the April 16 election, IRI will issue a statement on the preliminary findings of the delegation.
IRI’s delegation will be led by former Slovenian Prime Minister and current Member of Parliament Janez Janša and Constance Berry Newman, member of IRI’s Board of Directors, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and former U.S. Agency for International Development Assistant Administrator for Africa.
- Nadia Diuk, Vice President, Programs – Africa, Central Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy;
- Valerie Dowling, Political Director for the National Federation of Republican Women;
- Rich Galen, political strategist and commentator;
- Deborah Grey, former member of the Canadian Parliament and first-ever female leader of the official opposition;
- Arturo Sanchez Gutierrez, advisor to the Federal Electoral Institute in Mexico;
- Jake Hale, founder of CS Advisors, LLC;
- Maureen Harrington, former Vice President for Policy and International Relations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation;
- Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah, Chairman of the National Election Observation Council (JANIPOP) in Bangladesh;
- Darren Kew, Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution and the Executive Director of the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development at the University of Massachusetts at Boston McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies;
- Ann Liebschutz, Executive Director of the U.S. – Israel Science and Technology Foundation;
- Beate Bergsholm Lindgard, Regional Campaign Manager and Head of Office of the Conservative Party in Norway;
- Robert B. Lloyd, Associate Professor of International Relations at Pepperdine University;
- Djingarey Maiga, Executive Director of Femmes et Droits Humains in Mali;
- Peter Manu, Vice Chairman of the International Democratic Union and National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party in Ghana;
- Ray McNally, President and Creative Director at McNally Temple Associates, Inc.;
- Victoria Middleton, Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (CA);
- John Morlu, Auditor General of the General Auditing Commission in Liberia;
- Maimuna Abdalla Mwidau, Chairperson of the League of Muslim Women of Kenya;
- Mart Nutt, member of the Estonian Parliament;
- J. Peter Pham, Director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center at the Atlantic Council;
- Christiana Thorpe, Chief of the Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission; and
- Christopher Tuttle, Director of the Washington Program at the Council on Foreign Relations.
IRI staff will also serve as observers and assist in the mission. IRI staff will be led by Judy Van Rest, Executive Vice President; Dan Fisk, Vice President for Policy and Strategic Planning; Paul Fagan, Regional Director of IRI’s Africa division based in Washington, DC; and Mourtada Deme, Country Director of IRI’s Nigeria program based in Abuja.
Upon arrival in Nigeria, delegates will be briefed by representatives from the U.S. Embassy, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), international and Nigerian nongovernmental organizations, political parties and representatives of the media. They will also be briefed on Nigerian election law, and the rights and responsibilities of international observers.
Delegates will then be deployed throughout the country where they will observe polling stations and identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in Nigeria’s election system, including campaign regulations, the balloting process, vote tabulation and reporting.
This international delegation will build on the work of IRI’s long-term observers and staff level assessment, which monitored the April 9 national assembly elections. For those elections INEC was largely able to address the absence of election materials and the delayed poll openings that led to the initial postponement. However, challenges remain, including weaknesses in the conduct of the accreditation and voting process. While there was violence in some areas, in much of the country voting was generally calm and orderly.
IRI also fielded a pre-election assessment mission earlier this year, which was led by led by His Excellency John Kufuor, former President of Ghana, and deployed 12 long-term observers to Nigeria’s six geo-political regions. IRI’s long-term observers have been in Nigeria since March monitoring the preparations for the national assembly elections, the presidential election and the gubernatorial, state assembly and local government elections. They will also participate in observing the April 16 presidential election.
IRI has monitored more than 135 elections in more than 40 countries, including Nigeria’s 1999, 2003 and 2007 elections.