Prof. Attahiru Jega, National Chairman of INEC, says he is prepared to have both domestic and international observers for the 2015 General Election.
Jega told the South Africa Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Johannesburg, South Africa, that election observation adds value and credibility to the electoral process.
“But the challenges are there, given that some of the international observers work to undermine the integrity and sovereignty of the country in the course of observing elections or their actions seem to indicate this.
“It is important to conduct election in such a way that there will not be external interference in the country's integrity.
“If the role of election observers are carefully defined, there should be less worry about whether they are African or non-African observers,’’ Jega said
He said INEC would be willing to have many observers for the 2015 Nigeria general elections.
“In Nigeria, we have recognised the value of election observers by creating an enabling environment for them to ?witness the process, produce reports we can look at and see how we can improve on conducting elections in Nigeria.
“They were there in 2011, we saw the value of their observation; we have taken many of their recommendations and injected them into our preparation for 2015 election.
“We will be glad to have as many observers in Nigeria to witness the 2015 election,’’ Jega said.
NAN reports that former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some African leaders have called for a ban of non-African election observers in the continent.
“I am very excited with my participation in this symposium which brought many experts and people of diverse background and experience together to asses and evaluate almost two decades of election in Africa.
“It is a very important undertaking because election observation mission has been striving to assess the free, fair and credible electoral process in Africa.
“The issue of domestic observers was given prominence and we now see the need to involve more of them in the electoral process.
“There is need to harmonise various election observer missions to derive maximum benefit in process.
“There should be diverse background in election observers, a situation in which virtually all the election observers are lawyers is not good for the electoral process,’’ Jega said.
The 7th Annual symposium of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), is to assess the two decades of election observation in Africa.