Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nigeria 2011 Elections : Interim Statement on the National Assembly Elections by Project 2011 Swift Count

Interim Statement on the National Assembly Elections

Sunday April 10, 2011 by Project 2011 Swift Count,

Delivered at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria


Ladies and gentlemen of the press, on behalf of the National Steering Committee (NSC) of Project 2011 Swift Count, it is our pleasure to welcome

you to this press conference to report on our initial observations concerning yesterday's National Assembly elections.

Let me state up front, on behalf of all of the partner organisations, we condemn the bombing of the Independent National Electoral Commission

(INEC) office in Suleja, Niger state on Friday as well as the bombing in Borno and other incidents of violence that occurred in different parts of Nigeria on

election day. We call on all Nigerians to reject violence and work together for peaceful elections as we commiserate with the families of the deceased.

As you already know, Project 2011 Swift Count is jointly carried out by the Federation of Muslim Women's Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), Justice

Development and Peace/Caritas (JDPC), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Transition Monitoring Group (TMG). Thus reflecting the rich diversity of

Nigeria, it brings together Christians and Muslims, as well as organizations with citizen election observation and legal expertise.

Based on the information of our 762 observers, who reported from 741 local government areas where elections were held yesterday, Project 2011 Swift

Count finds that while the election was not perfect, it provided a meaningful  opportunity for Nigerians to exercise their right to vote.

Despite the bombings and the delays in the elections, Nigerians who went to the polls did so enthusiastically. Project 2011 Swift Count commends

Nigerians for their resilience and commitment to the democratic process. We also recognize the dedication of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC)

members who served as polling officials despite the many challenges they faced and turned out in mass to perform their national duty.

The Presidential election and State elections will be held on April 16 and 26 respectively. While progress has been made by INEC, logistical problems

continue to plague the election administration. Further improvements must be made so that polling officials and voting materials arrive on time. Challenges

with the register of voters remain, and INEC should continue to take steps to ensure that all registered voters are able to cast their ballots in the upcoming

elections. Yesterday, we were fortunate that incidents of violence and electoral malfeasance were not widespread and did not spiral out of control. The efforts

of the security forces to support the process are commendable. But, they mustdo even more to ensure a secure environment for polling.

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