Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, has appointed Maria Arena as Chief Observer European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria for the General elections. The elections are scheduled for 16 February and 2 March 2019. Ms Arena is a member of the European Parliament from Belgium.
The deployment of the EU Election Observation Mission follows an invitation by the Independent National Electoral Commission. The EU has consistently accompanied electoral processes and deployed an EOM to Nigeria's general elections since 1999, reflecting its long-term commitment to supporting credible, transparent and inclusive elections in the country.
High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini stated: "As Africa's largest economy and a key political and economic player in West Africa, Nigeria is an important partner for the EU. The EU is committed to support Nigeria's path towards stronger democracy and further political stability, building on the 2015 general elections. I am confident that the deployment of an EU EOM under the leadership of Chief Observer Maria Arena, will contribute to an inclusive and transparent electoral process. "
The Chief Observer, Maria Arena, declared: "It is a great honour for me to lead this important EU Election Observation Mission to Nigeria. I am hopeful that our observation will provide a meaningful contribution to the electoral and democratic process in Nigeria."
The Election Observation Mission Core Team of eleven EU election analysts arrived in Nigeria on 4 January and will stay in the country until the completion of the electoral process. Later in January the Core Team will be joined by 40 long-term observers who will be deployed across the country. The European Union's Election Observation Mission looks forward to cooperating with other international and domestic observation missions.
Shortly after both election days, the mission will issue preliminary statements at press conferences in Abuja. A final report, including recommendations for future electoral processes, will be presented at a later stage, after the finalisation of the electoral process.