Joseph Inokotong – Abuja
Nigeria’s success and progress in this year’s general election will go a long way in stabilising democracy, promoting good governance and maintaining peace in the sub-region.
This was stated by John Mahama, former President of The Republic of Ghana and Head of West African Elders Forum (WAEF) election mission to Nigeria at a media conference on Friday in Abuja.
He said the WAEF was pleased with the level of preparedness by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security forces policing the elections and other stakeholders involved in the elections, towards conducting a free and fair exercise.
“We are also impressed by the commitment of the candidates to support violent-free elections which they have demonstrated by signing two Peace Accords.
“Nigeria is a great country and our big brother in the sub-region. This is why Nigeria’s election is a big event for all of Africa.
“This year’s election is attracting this level of interest because Nigeria’s success and progress in this regard will go a long way in stabilizing democracy, promoting good governance and maintaining peace in the sub-region”, Mahama said.
As a forum of former West African leaders, he pointed out that the Forum was in the country to show solidarity and goodwill to Nigeria’s elections and to encourage Nigerians to behave in a manner that would ensure peaceful polling.
The WAEF noted that the peace accord mechanism is a positive development which other African countries can adopt and apply to improve their elections and guarantee peace before, during and after elections, and encouraged the candidates who signed the accord to keep to its terms, in the interest of peace and progress in Nigeria.
Mahama emphasized that “as a non-partisan platform for former leaders in our sub-region, our role is not to observe election in its strict sense but to lend our support to the efforts of West African countries towards consolidating their democracies.
“We do this by providing advisory and mediation services to avert election-related conflicts, before, during and after elections.
“Our Mission’s engagements here, and in any other West African country holding election, are guided by our own personal experiences as former Presidents and leaders in the sub-region, who had managed elections and overseen successful conflict resolution and peace processes”.
He noted that members of the WAEF will mainly be on hand after Saturday’s elections to engage key stakeholders, if need be, towards guaranteeing peaceful outcomes, adding that some of the members will remain in the country until the election procedures are peacefully concluded.
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