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Cablegate: Plans for International Observation of Nigerian

VZCZCXRO9983
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #0667/01 1001608
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101608Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9114
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0220
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0475
RUEHCD/AMCONSUL CIUDAD JUAREZ 0218
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 6532
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000667

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DOE FOR CAROLYN GAY
LONDON FOR AFRICA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM NI
SUBJECT: PLANS FOR INTERNATIONAL OBSERVATION OF NIGERIAN
ELECTIONS

REF: A. ABUJA 582

B. ABUJA 632

ABUJA 00000667 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) Summary: In addition to this Mission's own plans to to
field over 80 observers for the forthcoming Nigerian
elections (ref. A), a number of multilateral organizations,
other embassies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are
planning to have observer teams in the field during the April
14 polls for State Governors and Assemblies and those on
April 21 for President and the National Assembly. Among
multilateral organizations, the EU will likely have the
largest team here (over 200), though ECOWAS and the
Commonwealth are also expected to have observer delegations
in the field. Among Nigeria-based diplomatic missions, only
the British High Commission will deploy observers on a scale
approaching ours, with about 50. Most other Missions will
only have a handful (or less) of their diplomats visiting
polling stations in the general vicinity of Abuja; some of
the smaller EU Missions may send one or two of their staff to
join one of the EU teams. Among international NGOs, NDI and
IRI will have the largest presence, with about 50 each, with
the NDI delegation being headed by former Secretary Albright.
End Summary.

Multilateral Organizations
--------------------------
2. (SBU) The European Union plans to send a large delegation
to cover the Nigerian elections, with over 200 participants,
about 70 of whom are long-term observers already in-country
visiting the areas where they will be on election day.
According to EU Chief Observer (and MEP) Max Van den Berg and
his deputy, Graham Elson, the rest of the observers will
arrive the week of April 8, and will join teams in 32 of
Nigeria's 36 states. (Note: Like us, they will not send
observers to the four Niger Delta states for security
reasons. End note.) Both Van den Berg and Elson have
observed numerous elections in Africa, and were leaders of
the EU delegation which observed the most recent polls here,
in 2003.

3. (SBU) According to press reports, ECOWAS also plans to
send a large delegation, reportedly in the range of 200,
which would be its largest ever observer team; former Gambian
President Jawara is expected to be the head of delegation.
In a February meeting with the Ambassador, the ECOWAS advance
team stressed that any report it prepared would be a strictly
internal document to be shared with member governments, and
not with other observers or the public.

4. (SBU) The Commonwealth also plans to send a delegation,
and, according to both Elson and our British colleagues,
originally hoped to send a large team of over 100, provided
funding could be found. When funds did not show up, it
scaled back the planned delegation dramatically to eleven
observers and seven support staff, with former Tanzanian
Foreign Minister Joseph Wairoba acting as Chairman. The full
team is expected by April 13.

Other Diplomatic Missions
-------------------------
5. (SBU) According to contacts at the British High
Commission, HMG plans to send observer teams out from both
Abuja and Lagos to about half of Nigeria's states (though,
like us and the EU, not to the Delta for security reasons).
Labour MP (and former Foreign Office Minister of State) Chris
Mullin will be coming out to act as chief observer.
According to the UK PolCouns, they hope to have over 50
members of their Mission out on the 21st, fewer on the 14th.

6. (SBU) In a recent meeting with resident Political Officers
from about 15 Missions, we heard that most only intended to
have one or two diplomats (which is about as many as the
smaller of them have) visiting polling stations in the
vicinity of Abuja. Some of the smaller EU Missions said they
intend to attach one or two of their staff to the EU teams.
The somewhat larger Japanese Embassy is planning to have

ABUJA 00000667 002.2 OF 002


eight to ten staff out observing, though still focused on
polling stations within daylight driving distance of Abuja.

Non-Governmental Organizations
------------------------------
7. (SBU) The most notable NGO observer teams will come from
the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International
Republican Institute (IRI), both of which plan to send over
50 observers. NDI plans to include former Secretary Madeline
Albright, former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark, former
Liberian President Amos Sawyer, former Niger President
Mahamane Ousmane and NDI President Kenneth Wollack in its
delegation. IRI's delegation includes former US Ambassadors
Pierre-Richard Prosper, John Price, Lange Schermerhorn, and
Charles Twining, Kenyan MP Raila Odinga and IRI President
Lorne Craner.

8. (SBU) While we expect most of the more prominent observers
to be based in Abuja, both NDI and IRI have already sent
advance teams to all six of Nigeria's geopolitical zones, and
will have observers there on both the 14th and 21st.

9. (SBU) Comment: We have continued to play a leading role
in encouraging coordination and information sharing among the
various groups of international observers. The Ambassador
has hosted a series of meetings with resident COMs and the EU
team, and other Mission officers have reached out to other
diplomatic colleagues, shared information about our own
planning and offered to cooperate wherever possible. We have
also been holding regular joint meetings with NDI, IRI, IFES
and PACT (who are all recipients of USAID/DG funding). End
comment.
CAMPBELL

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