The heads of the international election observation missions in Nigeria and the United Nations have called for calm following the postponement of the General Elections originally scheduled for Saturday, February 16, 2019.
In a joint statement on Saturday, the organisations noted that although the shift was due to logistical and operational challenges, the decision has caused disappointment for many.
They, however, called on Nigerians to “remain calm and supportive of the electoral process as INEC works to implement its new timeline.”
They added, “We urge INEC to use this time to finalise all preparations and ensure that the new election dates are strictly adhered to.
“We encourage INEC to provide regular updates and information to the public on its preparations in the coming days and weeks to enhance confidence and trust in the process.”
They promised to continue to closely observe preparations across the country ahead of the rescheduled dates, while pledging solidarity with Nigerians “in their desire for credible and peaceful elections”.
The organisations are the Economic Community of West African States Election Observation Mission, led by former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; African Union Election Observation Mission led by a former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn; Commonwealth Observer Group led by a former President of Tanzania, Dr Jakaya Kikwete; and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa Election Observation Mission led by a former President of Zambia, Rupiah Banda.
Others are the European Union Election Observation Mission under the leadership of Belgian Member of the European Parliament, Maria Arena; National Democratic Institute/International Republican Institute Election Observation Mission led by Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, and Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, Former President of Latvia.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, represented by its Director of African Political Affairs, Ambassador Boubakar Adamou, and the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, also joined in issuing the statement.
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