The Head of the ECOWAS Elections Observer Mission (HoM) to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, former President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma has said governance, peace and security challenges in the region usually revolve around attempts to manipulate electoral processes and elections results.
Koroma arrived at the ECOWAS Headquarters in Abuja and was received by the President of the Commission, Dr Umarr Alieu Touray, and the Vice President, Damtien Tchintchu, the HoM addressed the ECOWAS Observers ahead of their deployment.
He emphasised the significance of these elections to both Nigeria and the region, noting that of recent, there has been a backslide in good governance and democracy in West Africa with five coups, three of which resulted in military regimes.
He therefore made the point that getting it right in Nigeria would set the standards for ECOWAS countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia who are preparing for elections in the next few months.
Koroma thanked the observers for their willingness to serve the regional body, expressed confidence in their capacities and integrity to do their assignment well.
He welcomed the observers, urged them to carry out their duties within the framework of their mandate and to do ECOWAS proud.
President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has been widely reported to have said that he intends to ensure that free, inclusive, transparent and credible elections become part of his legacy.
ECOWAS is obliged to participate in elections observation by Article 12 of its Supplementary Protocol on Good Governance and Democracy.
During the course of these elections, ECOWAS had deployed a ‘Fact Finding Mission’ from 21 October to 12 November last year, and Long-Term Observers to every region. A core team has also been working on several critical assignments, including analysis of the political situation, the media etc.
This means that the regional body has been interacting with the relevant stakeholders well ahead of the polls. ECOWAS will stay on ground after the declaration of results to support the process of a smooth and peaceful transition.