Our mission impartial, says Chair Commonwealth Observer Group

The chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group, Dr. Jakaya Kiwete on Monday said the mission will be impartial in its assessment of the general elections beginning from Saturday.

He said the group will issue an interim statement on its preliminary findings on the first set of elections on the 18th of February.

He said the 18-man observers were drawn from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

They were deployed to observe the opening, voting, closing, counting and the results management processes.

According to the statement, this year’s election will be the sixth time a Commonwealth Observer Group will be observing elections in Nigeria since 1999.

Kikwete, a former President of Tanzania, made the clarifications in a statement in Abuja against the backdrop of anxiety over the roles of the group.

He said: “Our Group was constituted following an invitation from the Independent National Election Commission, drawing together 18 eminent persons from across the different regions of the Commonwealth, including Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

“We come in our own individual capacities, bringing a wide range of expertise in the areas of election administration, political development, law, human rights, civil society, gender, youth, as well as media.

“As a group, we are here to observe the organization and conduct of the election process as a whole, and will form an impartial and independent assessment of its credibility.

“The Commonwealth Observer Group will consider the pre-election period, polling day itself, as well as the post-election period. Our main task is to assess whether the elections have been conducted according to the national, regional and international standards to which Nigeria has committed itself, including its own laws.

“On election day, we will observe the opening, voting, closing, counting and the results management processes.”

The group said it will issue an interim statement on its preliminary findings on the 18th of February.

It also said it will submit a final report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General and thereafter share with the Government of Nigeria, INEC, political parties, Commonwealth governments before making it public.

The group expressed hope its presence will confirm the unwavering solidarity of the Commonwealth with Nigeria as the country conducts the elections.

The group however encouraged all citizens to “play their part in ensuring peaceful and credible elections this weekend.”

 





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *