Holding elections does not mean a country is a democracy; however, no country can be a democracy without them. In a democracy, elections are transparent, open and competitive and the ballots are secret. To ensure elections meet these standards, IRI trains local election monitors, conducts pre-election assessment missions, monitors elections and publishes reports on election outcomes. Since 1983, IRI has monitored more than 135 elections in more than 43 countries.
In April 2011, Nigeria held its fourth national election since the return of civilian rule. To support the process, IRI conducted a pre-election assessment mission, deployed long-term observers to monitor the entire electoral process and fielded a team of international observers to monitor the April 16 presidential election. After witnessing Nigeria’s 1999, 2003 and 2007 elections, IRI observers found that the 2011 elections were a major step forward in advancing Nigeria’s democracy.
IRI’s work before, during and after the elections supported Nigeria’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its electoral process. Through civic education and work with local stakeholders, IRI helped develop greater public confidence in the government’s ability to conduct orderly, more transparent and participatory elections.