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ECOWAS: Nigeria’s Election Remains A Guide To West Africa, Its Failure Will Spell Doom For Sub-Region

It said the elections must reflect the will of the people as practiced in all democracies.

The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Observer Mission to Nigeria has said Nigeria’s election remains a guide to other countries in West Africa and cannot just be allowed to fail as it would spell doom for democracy in the sub region.

ECOWAS, while insisting that the 2023 elections in Nigeria should set the pace for other countries to follow in West Africa,
further noted that the elections must reflect the will of the people as practiced in all democracies.

The mission, led by former President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Koroma, stated this at a meeting with ECOWAS observers on Thursday in Abuja.

Koroma, while acknowledging that election observation is never an easy responsibility, noted that the process of an election and the election result was a major challenge in electoral process.

The former Sierra Leone’s President said that the ECOWAS 250 observers to Nigeria are not expected to dictate electoral proceedings, noting this is the most competitive election so far in the country and urged the observers to abide by the principles of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The former President explained that: “Our presence in Nigeria is, therefore, more than significant. It is first and foremost a legal obligation in applying the provisions of the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. Our role is to observe whether the conduct, organisation, and holding of the 25th February 2023 presidential elections comply with the standards set out in the above-mentioned Protocol.

“The elections that will take place in the next two days are crucial, not only for the brotherly people of Nigeria but for the entire ECOWAS sub-region. The campaign process has been carried out without much incident. However, the forthcoming phases, namely voting, counting, and the proclamation of results, are the most decisive. What will happen on 25th February 2023 is of the utmost importance for the Nigerian citizens, but also for all of us West African citizens.

“For that reason, the ECOWAS authorities are keeping a very close eye on these elections. They call for the highest sense of responsibility from all stakeholders involved in these elections, starting with the political parties, the State authorities, the civil society stakeholders, and the entire citizens.

“We would have also succeeded in ensuring that what comes out of this elections will set the pace for the elections to come. We have two other elections in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Next year, we have critical elections. When what happens have reflect the will of the people, I am sure other countries coming after Nigeria will toll the line.”

In his remarks, the President of the ECOWAS Commission,  Omar Touray, appreciated the importance of Nigeria to West Africa, stating that the outcome of the elections will affect West Africa and the world as a whole.

Touray noted that most foreign observers deployed to observe the elections in Nigeria depend on the observations and recommendations of ECOWAS Observers, adding that its observers must report nothing but the truth.

He said: “Ahead of your deployment to your stations, you have been selected on integrity, competence and your zeal for democracy to thrive in Africa.

“When asked how I sense the direction of these elections, I see good elections in Nigeria that will reflect the will of Nigerians.

“We have deployed the largest observers. Most of the observer groups depend on what ECOWAS says or report. Therefore, your mission is important to ECOWAS and the world.

“Report the truth and nothing but the truth. Do away with fake news. ECOWAS observers must show that we can be leaders.”

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

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