The heads of international election observation missions have charged Nigerians to exercise patience and remain calm in the face of the postponement of the general elections initially scheduled for February 16.
The Independent National Election Commission (INEC) of Nigeria postponed the elections few hours to polls Saturday, citing law suits and other challenges.
INEC said the elections would now be held on Saturday, February 23.
A joint statement issued on the turn of event by the heads of the missions called for calm to ensure that a free, fair and credible elections take place.
“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 the INEC works to implement its new timeline,” the Heads of the observer missions noted in a statement.
They also called on the INEC to ensure that the new timelines are adhered to without any further delay, and also keep Nigerians updated on developments.
“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.”
The observer missions reiterated that they are strongly behind Nigerians in seeking credible and peaceful elections.
The statement was endorsed by:
1. Economic Community of West African States Election Observation Mission –
Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia
2. African Union Election Observation Mission – His Excellency Hailemariam
Desalegn, Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia
3. Commonwealth Observer Group – His Excellency Dr Jakaya Kikwete, Former
President of the United Republic of Tanzania
4. Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa Election Observation
Mission – His Excellency Rupiah Banda, Former President of Zambia
5. European Union Election Observation Mission – Maria Arena, Belgian Member
of the European Parliament
6. 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
7. Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Ambassador Boubakar Adamou, Director
of African Political Affairs
8. United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa
and the Sahel, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas