Journalism in the service of society

Ensure peaceful and inclusive elections, Commonwealth urges Nigerians

THE Commonwealth of Nations, today, assured of its neutrality in the forthcoming elections as it deployed its monitoring team.

The Commonwealth Election Monitoring Team comprises of 16 high-calibre officers from different member-nations including politicians, diplomats and experts in law, human rights, gender equality and election administration.

The leader of the team and former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, at a press conference in Abuja, described the elections as Africa’s largest democratic exercise.

According to him, the outcome of the election would be significant, not only for Nigeria, but also for the entire continent.

The CEMT pledged to provide an impartial and independent assessment of the electoral process, which it said, would be communicated through a preliminary statement on February 27.

Mbeki said, “We, therefore, urge all stakeholders in Nigeria to uphold their commitment to ensure a peaceful and inclusive election in which the people of Nigeria are able to freely exercise their right to vote, with the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly fully respected.

“Our mandate is to observe and assess the pre-election period, activities on polling day and the post-election period.

“Throughout, we will consider all factors relating to the credibility of the electoral process. We will assess whether the elections are conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Nigeria has committed itself.

“As we undertake this assessment and conduct our duties, we will be objective, independent and impartial.”

He said that in the coming days, the group would receive briefings from the electoral authorities, political parties, the media and civil society groups representing women, youth and people with disabilities to enable the CEMT get a better understanding of the situation within the country ahead of the elections.

On his part, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission Mahmood Yakubu stressed the importance that the body attaches to the observations of the Commonwealth Observer Mission in the past.

He explained that some of the recommendations in the past have led to improvements, including the further deployment of technologies by the commission today.

The INEC Chairman also reiterated the commitment of the electoral body to conducting a free, fair and credible exercise.

Comments are closed.

Naija Times