The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) on Monday stressed the need for peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
A delegation of ECOWAS Pre-Election Fact-Finding Mission to Nigeria led by former chairman of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, made the call during a visit to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters on Monday in Abuja.
The Director of Political Affairs, ECOWAS Commission, Remi Ajibewa, who spoke on behalf of the group, said the elections are important to the socio-economic activities of countries in the West African sub-region.
He said the delegation was on a fact-finding mission ahead of the elections in line with ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol 2021 to observe elections in Nigeria.
He noted that Articles 11, 12, and 13 of the protocol mandated the ECOWAS to deploy electoral fact-finding missions to every member State of ECOWAS that are about to conduct elections, especially presidential elections.
Ajibewa said: “We all know the importance Nigeria holds, given the fact that, as they used to say, if Nigeria sneezes, the whole of West Africa catches a cold and we don’t pray that will be the result. So, we are here to listen to you, to see the area of challenges that we might also report.”
In his remark, the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, assured the delegation of the commission’s commitment to credible elections next year.
He said: “Let me restate the commitment of INEC Nigeria to free, fair and credible elections driven by technology. The 2023 general elections in Nigeria will be driven by technology not only as a matter of legal requirement but also as a matter of course, for us in the commission.
“So, I want to assure the ECOWAS team that we are committed to delivering a credible election in the next four months and a few days, which will be Nigeria’s seventh successive election since the restoration of democracy in 1999.”
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