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ECOWAS election observers return to Nigeria

A Cross Section of Ecowas Election Observer

Members of the ECOWAS Long-Term Election Observation Mission (LTEOM) have returned to Nigeria for deployment ahead of the country’s elections rescheduled for 28 March and 11 April 2015

The team, part of the enlarged 250-member ECOWAS Election Observation Mission (EOM) to be led by former Ghanaian President John Kufuor was originally deployed to five of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones from 20th January 2015. They left the country after debriefing by the Commission’s Election Technical team following the postponement of the elections.

Welcoming the team to the Commission’s Election Situation Room at the Niger House, Abuja, Head of the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division, Mr. Francis Oke commended the observers for their dedication and reminded them of their task and neutrality.

Other members of the 18-member LTEOM team would be arriving in the country next week ahead of the larger mission.

Meanwhile, as part of the debriefing, a member of the Ghanaian Council of State and former deputy chairman of the Ghana Electoral Commission Hon David Adeenze-Kangah, now serving as a member of the LTEOM, met on 3rd March 2015 with the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and Security Mrs. Salamatu Husseini Sulaiman.

At the meeting also attended by the ECOWAS Director of Political Affairs, Dr. Remi Ajibewa, the Commissioner noted that Ghana has some useful electoral lessons to share with other ECOWAS Member States.

Following Nigeria’s postponement of its elections, the President of the ECOWAS Commission H.E. Kadré Desire Ouédraogo, has led the Commission’s delegation to 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.

During the meetings, the ECOWAS chief reaffirmed the Commission’s solidarity with Nigeria and called for free, fair, violence-free and credible general elections in the country this year.

The deployment of observation missions by the Commission is consistent with the provisions of the regional Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and within the framework of the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Programme for Member States.

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