By Anthony Isibor
THE just-concluded presidential election conducted in the Republic of Niger on 21, February 2021, was the first of its kind in the country. It would be the first time the country will be transitioning from a democratically elected government to another democratically elected government since its independence. The election was widely monitored by international and local observers alike to ensure that it was conducted in a transparent and free and fair process.
According to their constitution, the president is elected by an absolute majority vote through a two-round system to serve a 5-year term. If no candidate receives the majority vote in the first round of the elections, a second-round is thereby held between the candidates with the highest percentage of votes cast.
The first round of the Republic of Niger presidential election held on Sunday, December 21, 2021, and Saturday, January 30, 2021, and no candidate got the majority vote, however, Taayya Bazoun Mohamed, the candidate of the ruling PNDS, and Tchanji Mahamane Ousmane, the candidate of the RDP had the highest percentage of votes cast and qualified for the run-off scheduled for 21 February 2021.
According to reports, Tarayya got 39.30 percent of the votes cast, while Tchanji emerged second with 16.9 percent of the votes cast. Given these results, the constitutional court confirmed the two candidates eligible for the rerun.
In preparation for the election and to ensure a peaceful, fair, and credible election, Jean-Claud Kassi Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, had in compliance with the relevant provisions of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on democracy and good governance 2001, 2008, ECOWAS conflict prevention framework, and the legal instruments governing the electoral process in the Republic of Niger deployed an Electoral Observation Mission, EOM, to monitor the run-off election.
A ninety-two member observer commission was constituted and comprised of the Ambassadors of ECOWAS member states, members of ECOWAS Parliament, the Court of Justice and experts drawn from the relevant ministries and electoral management bodies of member states, civil society organizations, security and media experts.
Mohammed Namadi Sambo, a former vice-president of Nigeria led the mission. He was supported by an ECOWAS technical team, led by Francis Behanzin, the commissioner in charge of political affairs, peace, and security, and Liliane Alapini, ECOWAS Permanent Representative to the Niger Republic.
The Namadi Sambo-led EOM upon arrival in Niger met the relevant stakeholders in Niger and thanked them for their commitment towards the conduct of the free and fair first round of elections and reiterated the support of the mission in ensuring a free, fair, credible, and transparent run-off election.
After a brief orientation conducted on 19, February 2021, the EOM members were deployed to 5 regions of the country, with exceptions to Zinder, Agadez, and Diffa regions due to operational challenges.
Having been part of the election from the start and has observed with keen interest, the EOM team led by Sambo made these conclusions:
- i) the voting process, the sorting, counting, and tallying of the ballots were conducted under a peaceful atmosphere.
2) the electoral officers displayed professionalism in their conduct.
3) the mission notes the considerable participation of youths and women in the electoral process.
4) voters exercised their constitutional rights by voting for their preferred candidates under free, fair, credible, and transparent conditions.
The mission thus described the just concluded presidential election in Niger Republic to be free and fair and has urged the candidates to accept the will of the people and, in the event of disagreement with the result when published, to resort exclusively to legal channels for redress
Realnews gathered that the Sambo-led EOM team had visited 385 polling stations in the region.
– Feb. 25, 2021 @ 19:06 GMT