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ECOWAS election observers enjoined to be diligent, meticulous in their task

H.E. John Kufour, Head, ECOWAS Observer Mission, (r) discussing with Vice President, ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Toga McIntosh, during Election Observation Briefing. Abuja, 26 March, 2015. IMG_4418

Members of the 250-strong ECOWAS Election Observation Mission (EOM) have been charged to be “diligent, meticulous and uncompromising” in their task of monitoring Nigeria’s 28 March 2015 presidential elections.

“Your task as election observers is very essential as it builds trust of the Nigerian electorate and the (ECOWAS) Community at large in the democratic process and enhances the legitimacy of the government that will emerge from this election,” the Head of Mission, former Ghanaian President John Kufuor told the regional observers during a briefing at the ECOWAS Commission’s Abuja headquarters before their deployment on Thursday 26th March 2015.

Continuing, he said the outcome of the Mission “will unarguably serve as a yardstick to measure the credibility of the election.”

The Head of Mission expressed happiness that the security challenges that necessitated the postponement of the elections “have been dealt with by the Nigerian and Multinational Joint Task Force,” to make the election a reality.

“Election observation has become a norm and part and parcel of the democratic process in our ECOWAS region, and indeed, the democratic values that underpin our regional organization,” he said, adding that in spite of the nagging security challenges and tensed political environment, “we are confident that Nigeria, with its strength and resilience, as well as the support of its friends, will go through this process in the most successful manner.”

Former President Kufuor expressed the Mission’s best wishes to Nigerians “as they exercise their inalienable right to choose a leader of their choice,” while optimistic that “all political parties will conduct themselves in a manner that contributes to a peaceful, free and fair, democratic election, as this country has done previously.”

Speaking on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Kadré Desire Ouédraogo, Vice President Toga Gayewea McIntosh, noted that five major elections would be held in the region this year (in Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire).

He urged the observers to see themselves and perform their role as observers and Ambassadors of the region, adding that the success of the mission “relies on your engagement, participation and participation.”

The Vice president also charged the observers to “strictly follow the codes and guidelines of observation and give your fullest commitment to this mission.

On behalf of the Commission, Dr. McIntosh expressed gratitude to former President Kufuor for agreeing to lead the Mission as a demonstration of his continuous commitment and dedication to the cause of serving a peaceful, democratic and prosperous West Africa.

He explained that “upon careful consideration” ECOWAS election observers are being deployed in five of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones (South-South, South-East, South-West, North-Central and North-West.”

In his opening remarks, the ECOWAS Director of Political Affairs, Dr. Remi Ajibewa said the Nigerian election constituted an impetus to the consolidation of democracy in the country, adding that the outcome will, to a large extent impact on the socio-economic, political and security order of West Africa given Nigeria’s strategic position in the region.

The ECOWAS Mission of Long-term and Short-term observers comprising among others, election, conflict management and media experts from Member States, as well as members of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise, Ambassadors, and officials from National Electoral Commissions, were later briefed on the political and security situation of the country, the observation methodology and the deployment plan.

After observing the presidential election on 28th March across the country, the ECOWAS Mission will issue a Preliminary Declaration on the polls on 29th March.


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