The Commonwealth Observer Group has said that the next few days to Nigeria’s general elections will be critical and called on Nigerians to play their part in ensuring peaceful and credible elections.
Nigerians will be going to the polls on Saturday, February 16 to elect a president and National Assembly members.
In a statement on Monday by the chair of the observer group, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, a former president of Tanzania, he the group was in the country “to observe the organisation and conduct of the election process as a whole, and will form an impartial and independent assessment of its credibility.”
According to Kikwete, the main task of the observer group “is to assess whether the elections have been conducted according to the national, regional and international standards to which Nigeria has committed itself, including its own laws.”
He noted that “Nigeria is a key member of the Commonwealth family. The Commonwealth has had a long tradition of supporting the nation’s democratic development through election observation over the past 20 years. In fact, this will be the sixth time a Commonwealth Observer Group will be observing elections in Nigeria, since 1999.”
He further added that the group was in the country following an invitation from the Independent National Election Commission, drawing together 18 eminent persons from across the different regions of the Commonwealth, including Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
“We come in our own individual capacities, bringing a wide range of expertise in the areas of election administration, political development, law, human rights, civil society, gender, youth, as well as media.
“The Commonwealth Observer Group will consider the pre-election period, polling day itself, as well as the post-election period.
“On Election Day, we will observe the opening, voting, closing, counting and the results management processes.
“The Commonwealth Observer Group will issue an interim statement on our preliminary findings on the 18th of February. A final report will be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, and thereafter shared with the Government of Nigeria, INEC, political parties, Commonwealth governments, then made public,” the statement reads.