Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

Heads of Election Observation Missions for the 2019 elections, have called on Nigerians to remain calm in the face of shift in the Presidential, National, Governorship and House of Assembly elections in the country.

  In a joint statement made available to Sunday Sun in Abuja, the observation teams assured that they stand in solidarity with the people of Nigeria in their desire for credible and peaceful elections.

 The statement was signed by the Head of the Economic Community of West African States Election Observation Mission, Her Excellency, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia; Head of the African Union Election Observation Mission, His Excellency, Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia; and the Head of Commonwealth Observer Group, His Excellency, Dr Jakaya Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania.   Others include the Head of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa Election Observation Mission, His Excellency, Rupiah Banda, former President of Zambia; Head of the European Union Election Observation Mission, Maria Arena, Belgian Member of the European Parliament; Head of the National Democratic Institute/International Republican Institute Election Observation Mission, His Excellency Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana; and Her Excellency, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, Former President of Latvia.

Also signatory to the statement were the Head of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Ambassador Boubakar Adamou, who is also the Director of African Political Affairs of the organisation and the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

 “We, the Heads of the international election observation missions and the United Nations present in Nigeria, have taken note of the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the 2019 general elections due to logistical and operational challenges.   “While we note that this decision has caused disappointment for many, we call on all Nigerians to continue to remain calm and supportive of the electoral process as INEC works to implement its new timeline.  “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.

 “As we continue to closely observe preparations across the country, we stand in solidarity with the people of Nigeria in their desire for credible and peaceful elections,” the observer groups said.

 Meanwhile, the United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom have thrown their weight behind the joint statement issued by the various election observation teams for the 2019 elections.

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