By Eze Eluchie
In the buildup to the Nigeria’s just concluded 2015 general elections held on the 28th of March and 11th of April 2015, all manners of organizations and individuals from diverse corners of the globe applied for and were accredited to serve as ‘election observers’ to ‘observe’ the elections in Nigeria.
Some of these ‘international election observers’ came from such diverse countries as Japan, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States and a total of 11 foreign Embassies in Nigeria.
International organizations accredited as ‘observers’ to our elections included Africa Students Association of Ireland; Kennesaw State University, Atlanta Georgia, USA; International Foundation for Electoral Systems; Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Kenya; UN Women; International Republican Institute; National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; UNDP/DGD Project; Centre for Conflict Management and the Commonwealth Observers Mission.
All manners of excuses were given as reason for the ‘foreign interest’ in Nigeria’s elections. Most identified the ‘crucial and volatile nature’ and ‘risk of violence’ as factors which motivated their quest to ‘observe’ the elections. They were all welcome.
Considering the volatile nature the forthcoming general elections in the United Kingdom is attaining, as it represents a critical step to determining so many critical issues (Immigration, European Integration and the Euro, Disintegration of the United Kingdom) affecting not only the peoples of the UK, but also its international relationship with other countries, international election observers ought to be allowed to monitor the elections to ensure it meets with international standards and that the aspirations of minority communities in the United Kingdom are not obviated.
Incidents of widespread electoral fraud are not alien to British elections. One remembers vividly the gigantean leaps in number of registered voters in the London borough of Tower Hamlets within a space of one month and the use to which ‘postal votes’ has been put across much of the country as a ruse to perpetuate electoral fraud during elections held in 2010.
Why are the African Union (AU), the Economic community of West African States (ECOWAS), International CSO’s and other interested parties not being accredited in large numbers as International Observers to Observe and Monitor the forthcoming elections in the United Kingdom? It would have been quite interesting to hear what Election Observer Missions from other climes, such as Zimbabwe, Russia and China, would have to say about the British polls.
It would have also been nice to have the Foreign Ministers of some African countries jointly warn the UK Electoral Commission not to tamper with the results of the elections (as the votes are being counted) – just as some Foreign Ministers had warned the Nigerian Government as election results were being collated.
Let’s have Election Observers all over. Or do we need to respect the sovereignty of other States?
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