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2015 elections consolidates Nigeria’s credentials as modern democracy – Mahama

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The Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), John Mahama, has said that Nigeria’s elections have consolidated the country’s credentials as a modern democracy.

Mahama, who is also Ghana’s President, made the statement on Tuesday when he paid a courtesy visit to Prof. Attahiru Jega, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja.

He said that no election in West Africa had attracted so much interest and attention as that of Nigeria due to several reasons, as Nigeria remained the biggest economy and most populous country in Africa.

He said that the just concluded elections had sent a good signal to other countries in the sub-region, including Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Guinea. Scheduled to hold elections within the year.

“Everybody has been watching as an example, what is going on in Nigeria here.

“The elections have sent a very good signal to all other countries that are holding elections in the ECOWAS sub-region to help emulate as it has been done here.

“ I think there is a lot that many countries can borrow from you in terms of rolled out technology, probation of voter identification cards and how they were distributed.

“Also the equipment for reading those cards, verifying and authenticating the voters as to whom they actually are,’’ Mahama said.

He said although there were always challenges with technology, “I think this is a first step; as we go forward we can continue to improve the technology so that we can improve our elections.

“I must say that in the circumstances you faced, I believe you have done very creditable job and I wish, on behalf of all my ECOWAS colleagues, to congratulate you and your staff.’’

He urged INEC to keep up the good work, saying in doing that Nigeria would be better for it.

Mahama said that the ECOWAS Commission and Ghana would continue to work with INEC.

“As president of Ghana, Nigerians and Ghanaians are brothers and sisters and so we have a very special relationship.

“We share the same values with the same interest and cultures and so we will continue to share experiences. This victory is as much yours and ours.’’

He said that there was no winner or loser but that the winners were Nigerians.

He said that it was time for all Nigerians, irrespective of their political parties, to work together and move Nigeria forward.

“Nigeria has a particular responsibility in the sub-region because it is the biggest economy in ECOWAS and I believe Nigeria has to carry their responsibility to move the sub-region forward,’’ Mahama said.

Earlier, Jega described the visit as unique, saying it showed brotherly love which was very significant in promoting unity, peaceful co-existence and deepening democracy in the ECOWAS sub-region.

He said that Nigeria as a member of ECOWAS had a lot to do to contribute to the progress, development, peace and stability of ECOWAS.

Jega said, “ECOWAS, no doubt has a tremendous role to play in terms of harnessing her resources and energies of all countries in the sub-region in order to develop our region, promote peaceful co-existence and deepening our democratic development.’’

He said INEC was delighted that the little it had been able to do had been widely appreciated, adding, “this is show of support and encouragement’’.


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