The Commonwealth Observer Group has urged Nigeria’s political parties, candidates, and their supporters to ensure peaceful, transparent, and credible elections on 25 February.
The Chairperson of the Group, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, made the statement during a press conference in Abuja following the arrival of Commonwealth observers.
In the words of President Mbeki: “This month’s elections will be Africa’s largest democratic exercise. The outcomes of the elections will be significant not only for Nigeria, but also for the entire continent.
“Therefore, we 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.”
The Commonwealth Observer Group’s mandate is to impartially observe and assess the pre-election period, activities on polling day, and the post-election period, considering all factors relating to the credibility of the electoral process.
The group comprises 16 eminent persons from around the Commonwealth, including politicians, diplomats, and experts in law, human rights, gender equality, and election administration.
Over the coming days, the Group will receive briefings from electoral authorities, political parties, media, and civil society groups representing women, youth, and people with disabilities. These briefings will enable the group to better understand the situation within the country ahead of the elections.
Observers will be deployed across the country from 23 February. An interim statement, which provides the Group’s preliminary assessment of the electoral process, will be delivered by the Chairperson at a press conference on 27 February in Abuja.
Following the elections, the Group will submit its recommendations in a report to Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, who will forward the report to the Government of Nigeria, the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission, the leadership of political parties taking part in the elections, and all Commonwealth governments.
As of February 2023, an estimated 93.4 million registered voters will have the right to cast their ballots for presidential and national assembly candidates in 176,846 polling units across Nigeria.