The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that a total 146,913 accredited domestic and international observers will monitor the February 25, and March 11, general elections.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this Tuesday in Abuja at a briefing for accredited election observers held at the National Collation Centre in the International Conference Centre (ICC).
Prof Mahmood explained that in line with global good practice, electoral commissions in most jurisdictions invited national and international organisations to deploy observers or organise study tours for election managers during elections, noting that the reports and recommendations of the observers and the knowledge from the study tours helped electoral commissions to progressively improve processes.
He said, “For the 2023 general elections, beginning this weekend with the presidential and National Assembly elections, the commission has accredited 196 national or domestic groups that are collectively deploying 144,800 observers.
“Similarly, the commission accredited 33 international organisations, deploying 2,113 observers. In all, 229 groups are deploying 146,913 observers for the 2023 general elections.
“This is the largest deployment of domestic and international observers in the history of elections in Nigeria.”
While cautioning the observers against interfering in the elections, he said, “You are by definition observers. Do not interfere with the process or show partisanship. In addition, international observers must be guided by the fact that the elections are conducted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria which sovereignty must be respected.”
Speaking at the programme, the African Regional Director of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Clara Cole, urged both the international and domestic observers to abide by INEC’s rules.
Parties deploy over 1.5m agents
Meanwhile, the 18 political parties participating in the elections have deployed 1.5 million polling unit agents and 68,057 collation agents for the February 25, and March 11, elections.
This was contained in a report released on Monday night by INEC.
The report showed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) tops the list with 176,588 polling unit agents, followed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) with 176,233; New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), 176,200; and Labour Party (LP), 134,874.