Canada's High Commission in Nigeria has certified Nigeria's 2019 general elections to be credible, despite admitting that it was also plagued by logistical challenges, irregularities and violence.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 23, and conducted Governorship and State House of Assembly elections two weeks later on March 9.
The elections were marred by violence in certain areas that led to the suspension of voting in some parts of Rivers, Lagos and Anambra on February 23. The governorship election in Rivers was also indefinitely suspended by INEC due to widespread violence across the state on March 9.
Despite the cloud of doubt hanging over the credibility of the elections, the Canadian High Commission said in a statement on Thursday, March 14, that domestic and international observers have deemed them credible nonetheless, and congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari, who won re-election.
The Commission also noted that the shortcomings that were encountered during the elections should be eliminated before supplementary elections in some states where elections have been declared inconclusive.
The statement read, "As Nigeria moves closer to the conclusion of its 2019 national and state level elections, on behalf of Canada, I congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election. We look forward to advancing our collaboration with him and his administration.
"Despite logistical challenges as well as reports of isolated irregularities and violence, we note that domestic and international observers have found that the overall result was credible.
"International and domestic election observation missions have also made the initial findings about shortcomings observed in both the national and state level elections. Moving forward, we note the importance of strengthening democratic practices especially in the lead-up to re-run elections in states with inconclusive official results.
"Canada remains committed to supporting good governance and the rule of law in Nigeria. We recognise the importance of free and fair elections and independent democratic institutions to ensuring that citizens are able to participate meaningfully in a strong and healthy democracy.
"We at the High Commission look forward to continuing to work with the people of Nigeria."
President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) won the February 23 presidential election with a margin of 3.9 million votes, but main opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the result, branding it as the worst election in Nigeria's history.
He's set to officially contest the result before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.