Washington, D.C.- Today, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) Joint International Election Observation Mission (IEOM) released its final report on the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria.
While there were incremental improvements in election administration, advances in results transparency, increased competitiveness in the presidential race, quality engagement of youth, and overall optimism generated by the enactment of the Electoral Act 2022, the 2023 elections in Nigeria fell short of citizens’ legitimate and reasonable expectations. Significant logistical, technological, and communications failures by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), divisive rhetoric by political parties, political violence, regional disparities in electoral integrity, instances of vote manipulation, and marginalization of key populations marred the electoral process and disenfranchised voters negatively impacted on key aspects of the election process. The elections also saw the lowest turnout for national contests in Nigeria’s modern democratic history with only 27 percent of registered voters participating.
“The incoming government, lawmakers, INEC, and political parties will need to show genuine and renewed dedication to improving electoral and democratic processes, fighting corruption, and providing Nigerian citizens with responsive and trusted institutions. Nigerians must undertake collective actions to combat disenchantment, address lingering political grievances, and restore faith in elections and democracy as a whole,” the IRI/NDI final report states.
The report includes key findings on the pre-election, election day and post-election periods and offers practical recommendations for consideration by Nigerian stakeholders and partners to promote a resilient and inclusive democracy.
The IEOM found that there is still space to confront electoral integrity challenges and build on the gains of recent reforms, but only through demonstrable political will, good faith, and committed and coordinated efforts among Nigerian stakeholders.
This report is based on information gathered by the joint NDI/IRI Nigeria international election observation mission, which was present in Nigeria from June 2022 to May 2023. The 40-person election day delegation observed the polls in 20 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FTC). It was led by a distinguished team including Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi, and Ambassador Mark Green, former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Recognizing that elections are about more than just election day, the mission also conducted two pre-election assessment missions in July and December 2022 and was supported by in-country thematic analysts who provided regular updates through the monitoring and analysis of the pre-and post-election periods.
NDI and IRI thank the Nigerian people for the warm welcome that they provided the IEOM and express sincere appreciation for the meaningful contributions of the more than 60 observers who participated in the pre-election, election day, and post-election delegations.