European Union (EU) Chief Election Observation Mission (EOM) Officer, Barry Andrew, said systematic weakness of election administration can affect Nigeria’s democratic process.
Andrew made this known at the second news briefing of the mission in Nigeria at the just concluded governorship and state House of Assembly elections held last Saturday in the country.
Recall that the governorship and state House of Assembly elections were postponed from March 11 to March 18 to enable configuration of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to Andrew, that the collation process is ongoing, and EU EOM is continuing its observation of this crucial phase of the elections.
“Therefore, I encourage stakeholders to keep committed to visible processes and address any grievances through the courts.
“In this regard, I am mindful of the fact that various aspects of the presidential election had already been brought before the court as well as the Federal House Assembly elections.
“This mission maintained a strict impartial stand in accordance with our observation methodology. Accordingly, I do not propose to discourse matters relating to those elections held on February 25 as it is not in my place to do so,” he said.
According to him, this is to avoid saying anything that will not be misconstrued as prejudice at the interest of any party within those petitions.
“As observers we always hope to see a free and fair electoral process and to see democracy striving, unfortunately, one expectation that the new electoral law that notably all conduct at the polls was not met.
“Also, the poor interpretation of the law and lack of political will to achieve its adjectives was not met.
“The conduct of the 2023 election revealed that systematic weakness of election administration if that is not properly and comprehensively addressed will lead to democratic backsliding.
“This can have serious consequences on any country on any continent, considering the role that Nigeria has with its region, Africa and the world, this is particularly important,” he said.