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Only INEC can monitor election– Jega

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The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral
Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, says only INEC has the
power to monitor elections.
Jega said this while addressing election observers in Abuja
on Thursday.
He also said INEC had distributed 81 per cent of Permanent
Voter Cards.
He said an election monitor is part of the administration of
the election while an observer has no oversight function.
He, therefore, warned observers to understand electoral
laws properly before going to the field.
He said, “An election monitor is an integral part of the
election management structure and has a role in the
administration of the election. In Nigeria, only INEC and its
duly authorised personnel are empowered to monitor
elections. An observer on the other hand does not have any
role in the administration of the election nor any control or
oversight functions.
“An election monitor exercises some level of lawful
authority over the conduct of elections as well as over
officials involved; an observer has no such powers. In
Nigeria, a monitor must be duly authorised personnel of the
INEC; an observer is independent and reports only to his or
her organisation.
“A monitor can issue instructions and take decisions on
behalf of INEC and to that extent would ordinarily possess a
greater technical knowledge of the election process than an
observer. To enable them fulfil their functions effectively,
INEC is responsible for training election monitors on
election administration. The training of election observers is
the responsibility of the organisations that deploy them.
“The roles, powers and functions of monitors are created
and regulated and the authority so exercised is clearly spelt
out. It is important to clarify these because observers in the
past sometimes overreach the limits of our conception of
observation, which often results in tension and
disagreements.”
Jega said the last six weeks had given INEC the opportunity
to put its house in order and expected things to go
smoothly on election day.
The INEC boss urged the observers to ensure that their
reports are based on evidence and not hearsay
Jega said, “In their conduct, observers are expected to
declare any conflict of interest, be impartial and
unobtrusive, ensure that their reports and conclusions are
evidence-based, eschew prejudgment of the process,
always carry proper identification, be careful about
comments in the media, be prudent in receiving gifts and
favours and avoid involvement in disputes.”

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