IRI to Monitor Nigeria’s Presidential and National Assembly Elections

Washington, DC – IRI today announced it will send an international delegation to monitor Nigeria’s April 21 presidential and national assembly elections. Representatives from China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Hungary, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Namibia, Poland, Somaliland, Uganda and the United States will travel to Nigeria to monitor voting and ballot counting throughout the country.  Following the voting, IRI will issue a statement on the findings of the delegation.

IRI’s delegation will be led by Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes; The Honorable Andras Gyurk, of Hungary, Member of the European Parliament; and Abbe Apollinaire Muholongu Malumalu, President of the Independent Electoral Commission of Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other delegates are Israel Akinsanya, National Chairman of Liberia’s Liberty Party; Michael Davis, Executive Director of the Universal Human Rights Network; The Honorable Pawel Gras, Member of the Polish Parliament; The Honorable Carole Hillard, former Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota; Minister Edna Adan Ismail, former Foreign Minister of Somaliland; Jia Ping, of China, human rights lawyer and civil society activist; Christopher Khisa, aide to Member of the Kenyan Parliament, The Honorable Noah Wekesa; Rachael Leman, Policy Coordinator for U.S. Congressman David Dreier; Li Fan, of China, President of the World and China Institute; Dr. Robert Lloyd, Professor of International Relations at Pepperdine University; The Honorable Raila Odinga, Member of the Kenyan Parliament; Scott Palmer, former Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Dennis Hastert; Dr. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University; The Honorable Manuel Pinto, former Member of the Ugandan Parliament; Dr. Jessica Piombo, Professor and Regional Coordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School; Ambassador John Price, former U.S. Ambassador to Mauritius; Tommy Ross, Legislative Assistant to U.S. Congressman David Price; Ambassador Lange Schermerhorn, former U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti; Sylvestre Somo, aide to the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Independent Electoral Commission; Marc Traoré, of Mali, Vice-Secretary of Programming for the Community of Democracies; Ambassador Charles Twining, former U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon; The Honorable Benjamin Ulenga, Member of the Namibian Parliament; Beau Walker, Legislative Assistant to U.S. Congressman John Boozman; The Honorable Noah Wekesa, Member of the Kenyan Parliament; Chris Wyrod, Africa Program Officer at the National Endowment for Democracy.

IRI staff will also serve as observers and assist in the mission.  IRI staff will be led by Lorne Craner, President; Elizabeth Dugan, Vice President for Programs; Stephanie Blanton, Regional Director for Africa programs; and Matthias Naab, Country Director for Nigeria.

Delegates will travel to Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, on April 14.  Once there, delegates will be briefed by representatives from the U.S. Embassy, Nigeria’s National Elections Commission, international and Nigerian nongovernmental organizations, political parties, and representatives of the media.  They will also be briefed on the rights and responsibilities of international observers and Nigerian election law.

Delegates will then be deployed throughout the country where they will monitor polling stations and identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in Nigeria’s election system, including campaign regulations, the balloting process, vote tabulation and reporting.

IRI will also field a group of 13 Nigerian civil society activists and academics to observe the gubernatorial and state assembly elections on April 14.

Since 1998, IRI has played a role promoting Nigeria’s democratic transition and has worked to strengthen the political process in Nigeria.  Since the 2003 elections, IRI has focused on strengthening Nigerian political parties in the pivotal years between elections.  Presently, IRI’s efforts are assisting political parties prepare for the 2007 elections.

In November 2006, an IRI delegation traveled to Nigeria to assess the countries preparations for the April elections.  The report, Nigeria’s 2007 National Elections Pre-Election Assessment, was issued in February 2007.

IRI has monitored more than 130 elections in more than 40 countries.  IRI monitored Nigeria’s 2003 and 1999 presidential and national assembly elections, 1999 state elections and the 1998 local elections. 

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