Former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki will lead a team of Commonwealth election observers to Nigeria.
Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland constituted the Observer Group following an invitation from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Scotland noted that the body remains a committed and reliable partner in Nigeria’s continuing journey towards peaceful democratic governance.
The leader said the Commonwealth has observed all general elections since 1999, adding that the latest deployment affirms the enduring support for the promotion of the processes and institutions of democracy.
“This month’s elections hold immense significance not just for Nigeria, but for the entire African continent and the wider democratic world.”
Scotland urged all stakeholders to ensure a peaceful election environment which is conducive to the free exercise of people’s franchise and in which fundamental freedoms and rights are respected.
The Commonwealth group will observe the preparations for the election, the polling, counting and the results process, and the overall electoral environment.
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.
The team will have briefings with electoral authorities, political parties, law enforcement agencies, media, civil society groups representing women, youth and people with disabilities.
The recommendations to be submitted to the Secretary-General will be forwarded to the Nigerian government, INEC, parties taking part in the elections and all Commonwealth governments.
The 16 observers, expected from February 18 to March 2, are politicians, diplomats and experts in law, human rights, gender equality and election administration from Botswana, Canada, Fiji, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, South Africa, Uganda, United Kingdom and Zambia.
Thabo Mbeki leads Commonwealth observers for Nigeria elections