…says EU technology analyst will assess use of technologies, verification of voters, transmission of results during elections

From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The European Union Election Observation Mission to Nigeria (EU EOM), has said it will not interfere in the 2023 general elections in the country.

This was even as the EU EOM said it has dedicated election technology analyst to assess the use of technologies, especially the verification of voters and transmission of results during the 2023 elections.

The Chief Observer of the EU EOM, Barry Andrews, at a press conference in Abuja, said on election day, there will be 100 EU election observers comprising of 40 long-term observers.

Andrews said: “As for interference, it is absolutely against all of the principles of our methodology that we will in anyway, interfere politically with the election debate that is going on. That is absolutely a matter of political parties and for Nigerian citizens.

“Our job here is to access the robust of the election, the process itself and to make sure that it is inclusive and sincere as possible, that all the technologies are transparent as possible and that we can, in the end, make an inclusion as to the credibility of the election.

“But we will not in anyway make statements that could be perceived as politically interfering. And that is the methodology that has been the case for many, many years.”

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On the use of technology during the elections, Andrews stated that the Electoral Act 2022 has introduced new measures aimed at enhancing various aspects of the conduct of elections.

Andrews said: “As part of its overall analysis, the EU EOM will closely follow its implementation. For the first me in Nigeria, the mission has a dedicated Election Technology Analyst who is assessing the use of technologies, especially the verification of voters and the transmission of results. A Media Analyst and a Social Media Analyst are also undertaking an assessment of the role of the traditional media, as well as social media and digital communication during the process.”

Earlier, Andrews said the 2023 election is the seventh the EU Election Observation Mission to Nigeria is monitoring since 1999, adding that the EU attached great significance to the elections.

He urged authorities, candidates and political parties in the country to ensure that the general elections are peaceful and further election-related violence is prevented.

Andrews also said every voter has the right to cast their ballot in a safe environment free from intimidation and undue influence.

“We encourage the authorities, candidates, and political parties to commit to peaceful conduct prior to, during and after election day. Cooperation between all institutions and parties participating in the elections is crucial. The presence of a level playing field, freedom of expression, assembly and association, respect for human rights and a neutral and independent election management body at all levels are all essential for democratic elections,” Andrews further said.