ECOWAS expresses solidarity with Nigeria, urges peaceful, credible elections20 Feb, 2015
This was the recurring theme of the message by the Commission’s delegation led by its President Kadré Desire Ouédraogo, during separate meetings with key Nigerian political stakeholders including President Goodluck Jonathan, the presidential candidate of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the postponed March/April elections, the opposition flag bearer Gen. Mohammed Buhari (Rtd) of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega.
Speaking after an audience with President Jonathan at the Presidential Villa on 16th February 2015, the ECOWAS chief said the organization will accompany Nigeria, an important country in the region and Africa, through a successful electoral process and in strengthening and deepening democracy on the continent.
He also stressed the need for a peaceful electoral process and respect for the country’s Constitution, while appealing to the political parties, politicians and their supporters to play by the rule.
During separate meetings with Gen. Buhari and Prof Jega on 18th February, President Ouédraogo also shared the observations of the ECOWAS Long-term Observation Mission (LTEOM) deployed on 20th January 2015 in five of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones to monitor the phases of the electoral process.
Following the postponement of the elections from 14th February to 28 March and 11 April 2015 the ECOWAS Long-term Observers were recalled from the field on 9th February 2015, and during their debriefing session some issues and challenges were identified.
The INEC Chairman promised to take on board the observations and recommendations of the regional Long-term Election Observation Mission, towards ensuring free, fair, peaceful and credible general elections in Nigeria.
The Long-term observers are part of an enlarged 250-member Election Observation Mission (EOM) being deployed by ECOWAS to monitor the Nigerian polls within the context of the regional Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance for support to Member States organizing elections.
The ECOWAS Commission’s delegation on the visits included the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Sulaiman, Director of Political Affairs, Dr. Remi Ajibewa, Head of the Electoral Assistance Division, Mr. Francis Oke,