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Cablegate: Nigeria: Meeting On Deployment of Election

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 000283

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


E.O. 12958: DECL: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PREL EAID NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: MEETING ON DEPLOYMENT OF ELECTION
MONITORS


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY


1. (U) SUMMARY: The Embassy convened a meeting with U.S.
NGOs and others on January 30 to discuss numbers and
deployments of election monitors for Nigeria's April
national elections. Given the size of Nigeria and the
number of polling stations, the international monitor
presence will be relatively small, but nevertheless
difficult to coordinate. There are serious deficiencies in
the current domestic monitoring framework; the Mission is
trying to address them. Additional training resources may
be urgently required (see para 5). END SUMMARY.


2. (U) NDI/Carter Center expects 25-30 monitors for the
April 12 National Assembly elections (possibly led by
former Secretary Albright) and an additional 30 (for a
minimum total of 50) for the April 19 presidential election
(possibly led by FPOTUS Carter and former Namibian Prime
Minister Hage Geingob). IRI expects 50 monitors (10 will
be here for National Assembly elections), split into 15
field teams of three and an Abuja-based headquarters
component. The BHC, speaking on behalf of the EU and the
Commonwealth, expects 106 monitors from the EU for both
elections and 15-25 from the Commonwealth. The BHC
representative understood that the Japanese might also send
monitors. It is probable that there will be other
monitoring groups, perhaps from the AU, ECOWAS and SADC.
The likely minimum number of international monitors is 215,
and the maximum is not likely to exceed 250. A UNEAD
official commented repeatedly that each group should engage
in an "internal dialogue" before there could be an inter-
group discussion of coordinating deployments.


3. (U) The Independent National Electoral Commission is
hosting a meeting February 14 for international monitors to
discuss accreditation and expectations. An INEC meeting
for domestic groups interested in monitoring was postponed
from February 4 to the week of February 10 (two days during
that week are likely to be Nigerian national holidays).


4. (SBU) The presence of international monitors will be
important but the amount of coverage they will provide will
be limited. With some 120,000 polling places,
comprehensive international monitoring could never be a
realistic prospect. Unfortunately, each of the various
monitoring groups appears inclined to attempt "national"
coverage with their respective 25-100 monitors. Among
them, however, only NDI had a basic concept in place. The
danger is that each group might visit the same states, or
even the same Local Government Areas. A second meeting
will be held the week of February 18, and the groups have
been invited to produce a document similar to NDI's, as
well as a summary explanation for their proposed
deployments. The assembled groups will then attempt to
work out specific places of deployment to minimize
redundancy and maximize spread of coverage. (COMMENT:
Notwithstanding the UNEAD official's harping on the need
for each group to have an "internal dialogue" on deployment
before discussing coordination and his thought that
coordination might ultimately prove impossible. We are
optimistic that a useful level of coordination can be
attained. END COMMENT.)


5. (SBU) All participants in the January 30 meeting agreed
that, even if international monitors coordinate well, a
heavy burden for assessing the conduct of the electoral
process would fall on the domestic monitors.
Unfortunately, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG - whose
credibility was damaged by its inability to field the
promised number of monitors for the September 2002
registration process) and the Justice Development and Peace
Committee (JDPC - affiliated with the Catholic Church), the
two major domestic monitoring groups, are barely talking
with each other. Moreover, both groups draw their strength
from southern Nigeria and the peoples indigenous to the
South. The Mission is trying to encourage groups with
Northern roots that might be able to deploy large numbers
of monitors to consider attending the INEC meeting for
domestic monitors. We are making progress on this
objective, and may need additional training resources
urgently.


JETER

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