Bill Ritter Jr., director of Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy, is part of an international delegation tasked with observing the March 28 elections in Nigeria.
The former Colorado governor will co-lead the mission with Rupiah Banda, former president of Zambia; Navin Ramgoolam, former prime minister of Mauritius; Mahamadu Danda, former prime minister of Niger Republic; and Johnnie Carson, former U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, senior advisor at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a member of the NDI Board of Directors.
The delegation is sponsored by the National Democratic Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that has conducted more than 150 election observation missions in 62 countries, including for the 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 Nigerian elections.
“It is a fascinating privilege to be part of the delegation monitoring the Nigerian presidential election for the National Democratic Institute,” Ritter said. “This is arguably the most competitive and the most important election on the African continent for many years.”
Ritter and other delegation members will provide an accurate assessment of the conduct of the elections and demonstrate the international community’s continuing support for democratic processes in Nigeria.
They will have briefings in Abuja from candidates, election officials, and representatives of political parties, civil society, the media and the international community. The delegation’s work will be informed by recommendations of a pre-election assessment mission conducted jointly with the International Republican Institute in January.
After the briefings, teams of observers will deploy to locations around the country, where they will meet with local electoral authorities, party and media representatives, citizen election monitors and candidates to assess the electoral environment.
On March 28, the NDI observers will visit polling sites and counting centers. They will then return to Abuja for debriefing and present their initial findings at a press conference in Abuja on March 30.
Since Nigeria’s transition from military to civilian rule in 1999, the National Democratic Institute has worked with civic and political organizations to support the development of the country’s democracy.