AU, Commonwealth pledge non-partisanship, deploy observers
WITH Nigeria’s 2015 general elections getting closer, the African Union (AU) and the Commonwealth yesterday pledged neutrality in the polls as they have deployed their monitoring teams.
While the Commonwealth observer team, comprising 10 high-calibre officers from different member-nations was led by former President of Malawi, Dr. Bakili Muluzu, that of the AU, with 84 personnel, was led by former Liberian President, Dr. Amos Sawyer.
Muluzu, who addressed a press conference in Abuja, expressed satisfaction at the assurance got from INEC that the elections would hold as rescheduled.
He said, “Earlier this morning (Monday), my fellow observers and I met with the chairperson of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to learn more about preparations for polling day. Over the coming days, we will meet with other relevant stakeholders, including representatives of political parties, independent institutions, civil society and international partners, including Commonwealth High Commissioners.”
He, therefore, urged all those involved in the elections to put the interest of Nigeria first and play their part in ensuring peaceful, transparent and credible elections.
AU in a separate statement made available to The Guardian stated that the duo of Prof. Ibrahima Fall and Dr. Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union Commission, would be assisting Sawyer on the team.
The AU monitoring team pledged to provide an impartial and independent assessment of the electoral process, which it says, will be communicated through a preliminary statement on March 29 while the LTOs will remain in the country to follow the post-election developments, including tabulation and announcement of final results as well as observe the governorship election of April 11 after which a final and comprehensive report will be released upon the conclusion of the electoral process.
Meanwhile, the mission members, who will be deployed in different parts of the country, were yesterday trained on code of conduct for their operation.
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