Commonwealth Observer visits INEC, urges all to ensure peaceful, transparent election

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By Joy Odor

The Chairman, Commonwealth Observer Group to Nigeria, Thabo Mbeki has called on the Nigeria political parties, candidates, and their supporters to play their part in ensuring peaceful, transparent, and credible election on Saturday, 25 February 2023.

Thabo Mbeki, who was the former President of South Africa expressed optimism, hopeful and very confident that Nigeria will have successful elections.

The Commonwealth Observer Chairman made the request in Abuja on Monday while speaking during a courtesy visit to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in preparations for the elections.

Thabo Mbeki stressed the need for all hands to be on deck to conduct a peaceful and inclusive election in Nigeria.

The former South Africa President, narrated that as observers to the general election in Nigeria is important to INEC because they would make a statement and recommendations about what they think, of the elections at the end.

“We are hopeful, that there will be no complaints. In good measures that depend on yourself as a person, the honorable members of INEC, and many other people around the country that constitute your team, a very sizeable team of people.

“So we’ve come here essentially, therefore, to listen to understand as much as we can, your own views in terms of the preparations for the elections and anything and everything else, concerning the elections that fall within the ambit of the INEC.

“Therefore, having a comprehensive and accurate picture as possible about the election becomes important and INEC being a central player in that process is very critical.

“We’re not very far away from election day. And I would imagine everybody’s very very busy wanting to talk to you about one matter or the other. And we also are very busy from here, making sure that the machinery throughout the federation is properly in place,” he said.

In his address, the INEC Chairman Yakubu Mahmood explained to the delegations that Nigeria have a voter population of 93 million which means that she have 16.7 million more voters than the other 14 counties in West Africa together.

According to him, the 2023 general election is the seventh successive general election in Nigeria since the restoration of democracy in 1999.

INEC Chairman commended the Commonwealth for honouring the invitation sent to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, inviting the Commonwealth Election Observation Mission to Nigeria.

He informed that INEC has benefited from the previous election observation and introduced some innovations from the observer group and reiterated that the Commission is committed to a free and fair process.

“I am very happy that the Secretary General has obliged the Commission as guests of INEC.

“We invited you, so you are welcome as our guests. The 2023 general election is the seventh successive general election in Nigeria since the restoration of democracy in 1999.

“This is the longest period of electoral democracy. We have a voter population of 93 million means that we have 16.7 million more voters than the other 14 counties in West Africa together. So it’s time that the course is like the whole of West Africa and beyond such the sheer size of elections in Nigeria.”

“We don’t take your observations likely, especially recommendations that require administrative action by the Commission, and those that required amendment, particularly legislation we also liaise with the National Assembly to provide the necessary legislation and those that required amendment,” he stated.

“I want to assure you that INEC is not a political party. We don’t have a candidate in the election. The choice of who becomes president or whatever is important in the general election is in the hands of Nigerian voters.

“We are committed to creating credible and verifiable elections,” he added” Prof Yakubu noted.

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