Buhari insists he won free and fair in response to IRI/NDI report on 2019 elections
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said his victory was won fairly and he had nothing to hide, although he said his administration is committed to reviewing Nigeria’s electoral laws and processes, like every democracy across the world.
The President in response to the joint report of the International Republic Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on the 2019 general elections in Nigeria and recommendations for the 2023 general elections, said he welcomed the report with ‘reservation.’
It is instructive that President Buhari clearly won this vote and the report in no way disputes that fundamental fact, the Presidency said in a statement Tuesday evening signed by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President.
President Buhari won by almost 4 million majority, with a 14% margin, said Shehu.
The report said that ” During the Feb. 23 and March 9 polls, IRI/NDI observers witnessed vote buying at polling units as well as party agents assisting voters in marking their ballots and violating the secrecy of the vote.
Opposition leader Atiku Abubakar has rejected incumbent Muhammadu Buhari’s claim that he won the presidential election, denouncing the poll as a “sham” and vowing to mount a legal challenge.
” This election was won by the candidate who received the most votes, Shehu insists. We value the report’s recommendations. We can assure they shall be assessed and evaluated.
The IRI/NDI in the report urged stakeholders to consider a list of recommendations to improve the electoral process.
Legal Framework and Election Dispute Resolution
• Pursue a comprehensive, inclusive and expeditious electoral reform process.• Establish time limits for the adjudication of pre-election petitions, the report recommends.
• Complete constituency delimitation exercise and identify necessary polling units at least one year before the next elections.
• Make the continuous voter registration process more accessible to voters.• Develop and adopt a strong strategic communications plan.
• Reconsider the order and timing of general elec
• Create a process that facilitates suffrage for those on official duty on election day.
• Adopt more transparent procedures for the tabulation, transmission and announcement of results.
Political Party Conduct
• Urgently commit to and implement measures to strengthen mechanisms for political party internal democracy.
• Develop and campaign on issue-based platforms that reflect citizen priorities.• Build the capacity of political parties to monitor elections.
• Improve coordination among stakeholders to increase and deepen voter and civic education.
• Continue efforts to enhance the participation of marginalized groups, including women, youth, people with
disabilities and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
• Continue to improve coordination between security agencies and INEC on the provision of electoral security.• Enforce electoral laws by investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of election-related criminal acts.