The National Democratic Institute (NDI)’s international observer delegation said yesterday at the Bintumani Hotel that in the case of a run-off, NEC should redouble its effort to provide voters, political parties and candidates with information required for them to effectively participate in the electoral process.
The delegation, which comprises 42 individuals, noted that for further elections, polling staff should have clarity on voters’ identification procedures, the counting process, and the completion of forms.
Ken Nnamani, former senate president (Nigeria), recommended that NEC should maintain its commitment to announce and certify results in the most transparent and timely way possible, in order to ensure confidence in the tabulation process and reduce potential for tension in the elections in the electoral environment.
To enhance voters’ identification, he recommended that efforts which specifically target how to mark the ballots, NEC should post illustrations in the polling area of acceptable ways to mark the ballots.
Nnamani intimated that NEC should improve signage in all polling stations and improve the management of polling centres.
He stated that polling officials should be commended for devising solutions to problems that arose on election day, such as broken hole punchers.
However, the delegation noted that NEC should put policies in place to ensure that “these pragmatic solutions are taken into account when establishing procedures for future polls”.
On voter turnout and participation Nora Owen, former Minister for Justice and former Member of Parliament (Ireland), said voter turnout on August 11 was impressive across the country.
Ms. Owen stated that thousands waited in line to vote, demonstrating their personal commitment to peaceful elections.
She maintained that overall, voting on August 11 was orderly and peaceful in most locations observed.
The former Minister for Justice and former MP opined that most polling stations opened on time or within 30 minutes due to logistical challenges and the delay in delivery materials.
She maintained that NDI observers witnessed one case of sensitive materials not being present at Blama polling centre (number 09215) in Bo district, but the delegates were advised that NEC addressed this situation.
On security on election day Carol Lancaster, former deputy Administrator of the USAID, said the police and other security forces were actively engaged in maintaining a peaceful environment on election day.
The army “stayed in barracks” and did not seek to interfere in the electoral process, she stated.
Counting of votes, she pointed out, proceeded without major incident in most places observed by this delegation, although in some cases the count seemed less orderly.
On participation of marginalized groups, Carol Lancaster further stated that the delegation observed a high number of women and young people participating in the electoral process as polling officials, and domestic elections.
Few women served as political party agents.