Former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei, has been appointed by the ECOWAS to be part of a fact finding mission ahead of Nigeria’s general elections February next year.
The deployment of the fact finding team in Nigeria, starts from the 1st to the 15th of this month.
The aim of this mission is to meet with all stakeholders involved in the electoral process to assess the level of preparedness ahead of the upcoming polls.
GBC’s Pascaline Adadevoh assesses the Electoral process of Nigeria.
A letter from the ECOWAS Commission, stated that the deployment of the fact finding mission is in pursuant to the provisions of the ECOWAS supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and following the decision of Head of States for the Commission to undertake timely fact finding missions to Member States.
The Seven member Team will be led by the Chairperson of Sierra Leone’s Electoral Commission Mohammed Allie Conteh, and assisted by Ghana’s former EC Boss Charlotte Osei.
While in Nigeria, the mission would meet all key stakeholders including INEC, Nigeria bar association, media, diplomatic community, CSOs, political parties, candidates and security agencies.
The Mission will also visit some key cities around Nigeria and outside the capital Abuja.
International engagement in the elections of Africa’s largest economy and most populous country will be critical.
Nigerians aside from preparing to vote for who will lead them will also elect Governors of 29 out of 36 States.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will be pitched against the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and many smaller parties.
So far, a few skirmishes have happened across the country, sending a signal that security needs to be strengthened during the pre and post-election period.
The mandate of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to superintend over peaceful, credible and transparent elections will largely depend on tight security.
The chances of the incumbent President Mohammudu Buhari, to retain power is quite shaky due to a number of emerging political groupings that seem keen to break the front of the ruling APC.
The APC in July this year also witnessed large scale defections. There are complaints of the ill health of President Buhari, who has spent a sixth of his Presidency on sick leave.
Interactions among people on the streets have revealed that the 2019 elections is more about Nigerians and Buhari not the APC versus PDP.
Going forward, the opposition PDP may stand a better chance of clinging victory based on its political pedigree and how appealing their Candidate is to the electorates and most importantly presenting a united front against a well-financed incumbent with a strong support base in the North of the country.
Upon observation, it is obvious Nigeria’s international partners appear not to be too engrossed in the 2019 elections as they were four years ago.
Whatever the case maybe, the US, UK and EU will have to play their role to ensure that Nigeria have peaceful polls.