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Preliminary Declaration: ECOWAS Election Observer Mission: General Election Federal Republic of Nigeria
  1. The President of the ECOWAS Commission, E. Kadre Desire OUEDRAOGO, in line with the provisions of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, deployed an Observation Mission comprising of two-hundred and fifty (250) persons to observe the Nigerian Presidential and National Assembly Elections of 28 March 2015. The Election Observation Mission, is headed by former President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. John KUFUOR.


  1. ECOWAS Observers were deployed in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and in five of the six geo-political zones (North Central, North-West, South-East, South-South, South-West), with the exception of the North East due to security concerns. The West African Peacebuilding Network (WANEP), one of ECOWAS Civil Society Organisation (CSO) partner, provided updates on the North East geo-political zone to the ECOWAS Situation Room. From their report, the on-going counter-insurgency efforts by the Nigerian military and the Multi-national Joint Taskforce has relatively stabilized the North East Region comprising Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States, therefore enabling the organisation and conduct of elections.


  1. The Election Observation Mission is part of the ECOWAS sustained efforts to support the consolidation of democracy and good governance in Nigeria. Therefore, in line with ECOWAS guidelines on election-monitoring, the Commission deployed a pre- election fact-finding mission headed H.E John Kufuor in October 2014, in Nigeria. The Mission met with all relevant stakeholders of the electoral process. Based on the recommendations of the pre-elections fact- finding mission, and in a bid to provide a complete and comprehensive assessment of the whole electoral process, a team of twelve Long Term Observers (LTOs) were deployed on the 23rd January 2015 to monitor the phases of the electoral process leading up to the elections. The LTOs were deployed in five [5] geopolitical zones and had meetings with key national stakeholders and international partners on the electoral process. However, they were recalled from their respective geo-political zones following the postponement of the elections on 8th February 2015 and were redeployed from the 1st of March 2015.


  1. The President of the Commission also paid a courtesy call on the major presidential candidates and major stakeholders including Dr Goodluck Ebele JONATHAN, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Maj. Gen Muhammadu BUHARI, and the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Major recommendations from the LTOs was presented to INEC by the President of the ECOWAS Commission and this was well received as it had positive effects on subsequent INEC decisions.


  1. On 23 March 2015, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, the President of the Republic of Ghana and the Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government paid a courtesy call on Dr Goodluck Ebele JONATHAN, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Maj. Gen Muhammadu BUHARI, and the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Upon arrival in Nigeria, on 25th March, 2015, E. President Kufuor, the Head of ECOWAS Election Observation Mission met with the Heads of different Observation Missions including the Commonwealth, the European Union (EU), African Union (AU), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the United Nations Office in West Africa (UNOWA) and the International Federation of Election System (IFES).


  1. Following these consultations, which centred on the preparedness of INEC and other relevant agencies for the election, the Head of Mission was reassured by the commitments made and the steps taken by the different stakeholders in the electoral process, towards guaranteeing that the presidential elections were conducted under the best possible conditions. In particular, the Observation Mission was pleased to note the efforts made by the INEC and security forces to resolve some logistical and security challenges encountered before expiration of the six week-postponement.


  1. During his consultations, the Head of ECOWAS Mission expressed regrets over the violence unleashed by Boko-Haram on the people of North East Nigeria, while acknowledging the arrangements put in place by INEC to ensure that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are given the opportunity to exercise their franchise.


  1. Based on the foregoing, the Mission notes with satisfaction:
  • Commitment made by political parties to a peaceful electoral process, respect to the outcome of the elections and resort to legal process in redressing contentious outcome;
  • Efforts by the security agencies to ensure that the elections are conducted in a secured and peaceful environment;
  • Measures taken by the various entities involved in the organisation of the elections to ensure better cooperation and synergy towards a successful electoral process;
  • Concrete steps taken by the INEC to among other things, enhance its preparedness in terms of logistics and adequate training for polling officers.
  • Efforts by the Federal Government to provide adequate finances for the electoral process.


  1. These measures, in the opinion of the ECOWAS Observer Mission, are encouraging and underscore the determination and commitment of all stakeholders to ensure confidence in and credibility of the electoral process.
  2. Based on the information provided by the ECOWAS observer teams, the Mission observes the following trends:
  1. The turnout of voters was generally high, although low numbers were recorded in some parts;
  2. The voters displayed commendable level of patience, discipline and organization;
  3. There was laudable participation of women and young people;
  4. The orderly and peaceful atmosphere which prevailed in most parts of the country;
  5. INEC officials demonstrated good knowledge of and compliance with voting procedures, and effectively administered the process;
  6. Agents of the major political parties including All Progressives Congress (APC), Labour Party (LP) and the People Democratic Party (PDP), were in attendance in most polling stations;
  7. Security agents were present at most of the polling stations and in patrols in and around the cities.
  8. The process of counting at the polling stations and the subsequent collations at designated centres were successful and in accordance with the Electoral Act.
  1. However, some challenges were observed during the electoral exercise as follows:
  • Electoral materials and INEC officials arrived late in many polling stations across the country leading to a delay in accreditation and voting processes. For example in Sambo Secondary School in Gusau (Zamfara State), Shykafy Gabar Primary School (Katsina State), Security Post NYSC Camp in Kubwa (FCT), Central School Ukwulu in Dunukossia (Anambra), Lugbe Primary School by AEPI (FCT) and Polling Unit 4 at Taura (Jigawa). As a result, patience and discipline earlier displayed  by voters were over-stretched leading to tension and disorderliness in some polling stations;
  • The Card Reader malfunctioned in some polling stations especially in the finger print identification of voters resorting to use of manual accreditation of voters as well as a delay in the voting process, as in the cases of Polling Unit Shiyar-Wakini in Wamako (Sokoto), Polling Unit 024 at Okota, Aja (Lagos State), Polling Unit 008, Paternosta (Imo State), Lugbe Primary School by AEPI (FCT), and Federal Government Guest School (Calabar).
  • There was insufficient and/or non-availability of electoral materials like ballot papers, indelible ink and incident forms in some polling stations which further adversely affected the process. For example, Polling Unit 23 at Medical Centre in Gusau (Zamfara).


  • Cases of attempt to snatch ballot papers were reported in some polling stations leading to instances of uproar, shootings and sporadic violence in the affected polling stations as in Polling Unit 05, in Sarkim Muslim B (Sokoto).
  • Shootings in Yobe State allegedly by member Boko Haram insurgents leading to the death of 6 persons.
  1. Acknowledging (In the light of) the scale of challenges encountered with the Card Readers in the accreditation process, INEC issued a Communique authorizing manual accreditation of voters in the affected polling units and extended polling by one day in the instances where accreditation was suspended. Therefore, elections are ongoing in the affected areas including Plateau State (Abattoir Green, Old Government House and Kaman Local Government); Delta State (Udu/Ughelli Local Government Area); Nasarawa State (Lafia) as well as in the Riverine Areas of Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom and Rivers State.
  2. Despite efforts by the relevant agencies to secure the electoral exercise, breaches of security were recorded in some areas:
  • IED explosions in Abarkpa village and at Women Technical Training Centre both in Enugu State as well as at Awka in Anambra State and at Sabagida Primary School in Jigawa with undetermined number of dead and injured persons;
  • Shootings in Lagos State resulting in 1 dead and in Edo State resulting in the death of two policemen;
  • Shootings in Ozuaha community in Ikwerre Local Government Area leading to one death.
  • Shootings in Okigwe Moto Park 1 &2 in Imo State during which security protection was sought for ECOWAS observers in the area
  1. The shortcomings highlighted above require remedial action by the Authorities to further enhance the credibility of the electoral process. However, the ECOWAS Mission is of the view that, notwithstanding these shortcomings, the organisation of the election can be considered as generally acceptable.
  2. Despite the pockets of incidents and logistical challenges, the ECOWAS Observation Mission is persuaded that the general elections of March 28, 2015 meets the criteria of being free and transparent.
  3. The Mission also commends the enthusiasm, maturity, patience and sense of civic responsibility demonstrated by the electorate. It hopes that the same spirit of respect for order and discipline will characterize the rest of the electoral process. Voters are also urged to maintain their high sense of responsibility and tolerance during the remaining election period.
  4. Therefore, the ECOWAS Observation Mission would like to commend the Federal Government of Nigeria and all other stakeholders for ensuring a peaceful and orderly election, thus making it a historic step for the strengthening of democracy and good governance in Nigeria.
  5. In particular, the Mission congratulates the INEC for its leadership and professionalism. It also pays tribute to the security agencies for their impartial and exemplary conduct during the elections.
  6. The Mission applauds the National Peace Committee for its spirited initiatives and efforts in facilitating the commitment of all the presidential candidates to a peaceful electoral process as enunciated in the Abuja Peace Accord and for using its good offices to impact positively on the electoral process.
  7. The Mission regrets the violent incidents that occurred during the electoral process in some parts of the country which in some cases led to the loss of lives. It expresses its condolences to the members of the families of those who lost their lives and urges the relevant authorities to take necessary measures to avoid similar occurrences in the future,
  8. The Mission congratulates the Presidential and other candidates, their party members and the electorate for the successful conduct of the 2015 Nigeria General Elections and calls on all candidates to accept the outcome of the polls and where necessary, resort to constitutional and legal processes to redress contentious issues.
  9. Finally, the ECOWAS Observation Mission wishes to thank the Federal Government of Nigeria and INEC for ensuring that adequate security and other measures were put in place to facilitate the successful deployment and observation of the presidential election by the ECOWAS Election Observation Team.


The Head of Mission   



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