By Ijeoma Nwankpa.
Nigerians have been advised to protect and defend the country’s democracy.
The National Democratic Institute, NDI and the International Republican Institute, IRI gave the advice in a joint Press briefing in Abuja.
The briefing by the NDI and the IRI was to discuss the outcome and submission of the 2019 general election in Nigeria.
Both missions said Nigerians should respect the rights of fellow citizens to participate in Elections after which democratic progress can be achieved if Nigerians continue to champion their civic duties and responsibilities.
The NDI/IRI mission observed that voter participation was low, and that voting rights for Internally displaced persons were respected with IDPs in Benue and Adamawa permitted to vote in their camps.
According to the mission, INEC was yet to release detailed results from the national polls, and has not responded publicly to questions about the discrepancy in the number of registered voters announced during the collation process nor explained the high number of cancelled votes in the February 23 polls.
Women in Power
The Mission also decried low representation of women in elective positions in the 2019 general election.
The NDI/IRI Mission in Nigeria also observed that police and unarmed security officials conducted themselves in a professional manner near the polling units visited and observed that there was heavy military presence in Rivers state which disrupted the polls.
They therefore called for a national discuss on ways to strengthen the credibility of electoral processes and safeguard the country’s democracy.
They also called on the Nigerian government to prosecute electoral offences as well as achieve the 35 perfect affirmative action for women in both elective and appointive positions.