#NigeriaElections2023: Commonwealth observers say election ‘largely peaceful’

The Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group and former President of South Africa, HE Thabo Mbeki, has called for legal redress for aggrieved political candidates.

He said this on Monday in Abuja, when he presented the preliminary report of the Commonwealth Observation Group.

Commonwealth observers were in the Federal Capital Territory, Benue, Edo, Kano, Lagos, Ondo, Rivers and Sokoto states to observe the presidential and National Assembly elections.

He oversaw the recognition, voting, counting and result aggregation.

Mbeki encouraged citizens to be patient and allow the independent National Electoral Commission to conclude the results process peacefully.

Mbeki said, “We call on all those with grievances to resolve disputes through the prescribed legal means.

“Now is the time for restraint and continued patience as we await the final results.”

Speaking further, he said the election was largely peaceful despite administrative and logistical hurdles in several polling units.

He also appreciated the commitment and patience of the registered voters.

“We congratulate all Nigerians for their determination, patience and resilience during the electoral process,” said the former South African president.

He also noted reform with the enactment of the new Electoral Act in 2022, which gave greater autonomy to the Election Commission, legal support for the use of electronic recognition of voters, and a framework for the inclusion of people with disabilities in elections, among other things. .

The Commonwealth Observer Group was constituted by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland Casey, at the invitation of the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria.

Before leaving Nigeria on 2 March, the group will complete its final report setting out its recommendations, which will then be presented to the Commonwealth Secretary-General.

Meanwhile, the inspection missions of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States on Monday urged INEC to quickly upload the election results to its portal.

He said that speedy uploading of results would ensure credible conclusion of the electoral process.

Leaders of the AU delegation, Uhuru Kenyatta, former President of Kenya, and Ernest Koroma, former President of Sierra Leone and leader of the ECOWAS delegation, briefed on the preliminary report of the election on Monday.

Koroma said the AU and the EU Observation Mission were urging INEC to improve its communication to avoid any speculation, disinformation and fake news.

The leader of the ECOWAS delegation said it was on a diplomacy engagement in Nigeria with the AU mission to ensure a peaceful transition.

“We urge INEC to do whatever we can at this stage, as we have done in the preliminary report, to improve where possible communication with the public and members of political parties.

“Improve counting and tallying methods and review uploading, as these were all systems INEC promised to carry out without difficulty.

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