Former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, has been named the leader of the Commonwealth team to observe the 2023 elections in Nigeria, scheduled to hold from February 25 across the West African country.
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland KC, who constituted the Commonwealth Observer Group following an invitation from Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said the Nigerian elections hold immense significance not just for Nigeria, but for the entire African continent and the wider democratic world.
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In a statement on Tuesday, Scotland expressed her appreciation to Mbeki for accepting her invitation to lead the group and “to each observer for agreeing to undertake this important assignment on behalf of the Commonwealth.”
“The Commonwealth remains a committed and reliable partner in Nigeria’s continuing journey towards peaceful democratic governance,” she said.
“Since 1999, we have observed all six general elections in Nigeria and the deployment of this observer group is a testament to the Commonwealth’s enduring support for the promotion of the culture, processes and institutions of democracy in Nigeria.
The mandate given to the independent group, according to Scotland, is to observe the preparations for the election, the polling, counting and the results process, and the overall electoral environment.
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“The observers will assess the conduct of the process as a whole and, where appropriate, make recommendations for the strengthening of the electoral system in Nigeria.
“Before deployment to different parts of Nigeria, the group will also have briefings with the electoral authorities, political parties, law enforcement agencies, the media and civil society groups representing women, youth and people with disabilities.
The Commonwealth Observer Group comprises 16 eminent persons from around the Commonwealth, including politicians, diplomats and experts in law, human rights, gender equality and election administration and will be in Nigeria from 18 February to 2 March 2023