IRI Announces Delegates for Nigeria’s April 16 Presidential Election

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. 

Delegates are:

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. 


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