By Adedayo Akinwale and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) have disclosed that their verdict on the recently conducted Ekiti gubernatorial election would be made public on Friday.
The NDI Regional Director for Central and West Africa, Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, who spoke on behalf of the delegation that paid a visit to the headquarters of African Democratic Congress (ADC) made this known Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, “we have had meetings with a lot of Nigerian stakeholders, civil society representatives, opinion leaders, members of various professional organisations. It’s our tradition when we conduct this pre-election assessment missions, just as we do when we conduct international observation missions…focusing on the process and looking for ways our organisations can help people of Nigeria across party lines, including the national election commission which has the responsibility to conduct the polls, to make sure that they can conduct the polls in a way that is meaningful and produce election that Nigerians can be proud of.”
He added: “This is the first of two international assessments that we have done before this year is over. It will help us figure out how to be helpful to bring the expertise of our two organisations.”
Fomunyoh said that the team started its mission by making a short trip to Ekiti State to observe how the INEC would proceed with implementing some of the new guidelines that it had adopted since the 2015 national elections.
He noted: “Ekiti State gave us the opportunity to watch some phases of the process and to interact with the people of Ekiti State.”
When asked to give his assessment about the Ekiti guber poll, he said; “we are right in the middle of assessment, so we are still in the information gathering stage, our delegation will be issuing statements of our findings before we leave Nigeria, we are doing that on Friday (tomorrow) at the Hilton hotel. We would have finished with all our meetings and the entire assessment process by that time so we will be able to better respond to your questions.”
Fomunyoh noted that though the delegation would not be able to meet with over sixty-two political parties, but assured that it would meet with the major political parties.
Earlier, the National Chairman of ADC, Chief Ralphs Nwosu, said that nothing would stop the party from producing the next president come 2019.
He said since 1999, democracy in Nigeria had advanced as the country had witnessed successful transition every four years, adding that the hallmark performance of President Goodluck Jonathan in accepting defeat in 2015 and congratulating the opposition candidate remains a clear testimony.
Nwosu however lamented that the events of the last 3years seem to be undermining all the gains.
He stated: “In terms of elections, the bye-election in Rivers State turned the territory to a police state and a battle field until the govemment of President Buhari working with relevant agencies of state got the ‘hacked’ result they wanted.
“I am aware that your teams visited Ekiti State and witnessed the horror that the APC government inflicted on the state in the name of democracy. Despite the poverty in the land, the ruling party and government have unlimited budget for bribing the electorate, electoral bodies, and causing mischief.”