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Regional bloc ECOWAS urges Nigeria’s politicians to accept vote results ‘’in good faith’’

Article from AFRIC Editorial
The Regional bloc ECOWAS has released its first statement following the February 23 presidential and national Assembly Elections in Nigeria. Spearheaded by former Liberia’s president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Economic Community Of West African State (ECOWAS) has called on Nigerian politicians to accept the outcome of the vote results of both presidential and National elections ‘’in good Faith’’. Then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was speaking in her capacity as head of ECOWAS observer mission to Africa’s most populous nation.
Highly commending the electoral process as peaceful and transparent, Mrs. Sirleaf was quoted as saying “The mission commends the general public and the voters for their patience and determination to exercise their civic responsibility. “Mission calls on the INEC and other stakeholders to approach the final phases of the process with fairness and transparency until the announcement of the final results. “The mission appeals to party leaders, candidates, their supporters and the press to show tolerance and restraint leading up to, and after the announcement of the results. INEC chair Mahmood Yakubu on his part expressed fulfilment in the successes recorded on the Election Day.

Don’t put Peace Accord in jeopardy-ECOWAS

Accentuating on the importance of the February 13, 2019 Peace Accord, the Sirleaf led ECOWAS Observer Mission has challenged all candidates to receive the election results in good faith, urging them to take legal means in case of complaints or discontentment. Prior to  Nigeria’s historic presidential and national assembly elections, all presidential contenders were urged to sign a peace accord, vowing to keep calm, ensure free, fair and transparent elections and maintain a smooth run of the elections process, before, during and after the elections.

During ECOWAS preliminary statement, the fifteen (15) member bloc cited few problems (violence in some areas that impeded the voting and damaged some voting materials) that marked the voting day, but largely defined the vote as peaceful and transparent, commending security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission for a high degree of commitment and professionalism among other things. Worthy of note is the fact that the West African Bloc had early in December 2018, urged Presidents Muhammadou Buhari and Macky Sall of Nigeria and Senegal respectively, to ensure a peaceful, free, fair and credible polls in the respective nation. Both Nigeria and Senegal are signatories of the ECOWAS.

Nigeria Decides 2019

About 73 million Nigerians all over the national territory cast their ballots in the country’s February 23, 2019 Presidential elections.  However, this percentage was a result of a survey conducted few hours before the start of the voting process. The survey included over 70 out of the 72 presidential aspirants, as asserted by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC. INEC validated the candidacies of seven-two (72) presidential candidates including outgoing President Muhammadou Buhari and one time Prime Minister Abubakar Atiku, the two must prominent challengers. Over eighty-four (84) million eligible voters were expected to cast their ballots on Saturday February 23, 2019 in Nigeria. The 2019 election, like those of 2011 and 2015, suffered a postponement, with INEC, Nigeria’s electoral body citing logistical problems, insecurity among other aspects. Nigeria’s presidential and National Assembly elections were initially slated for February 16, and March 2 respectively, but were respectively pushed to February 23 and March 9.

Candidates confident of victory

Some of the presidential contenders expressed optimism and confidence after casting their ballots in last Saturday’s poll. However, Buhari and Akitu remain high on the spotlight. Outgoing President Buhari of the ruling All Progressive Congress Party vehemently told reporters in Daura in Katsina state, that he was going to emerge winner of this year’s polls. He was quoted as saying, ‘’ I will congratulate myself at the end of the election’’.  Buhari’s main challenger Atiku, said he was hoping for a peaceful transition in a country that has suffered years of terrorist’s attacks (Boko Haram), corruption, and unemployment. After voting his Ajiya, Admawa state, Atiku said “I’m a Democrat individual unlike others. I look forward to a successful transition.”

Provisional results

Collation of votes is in process across Nigeria, with INEC warning of proclamation of false election results from individuals, reiterating that INEC is the only body in charge of declaring the winner of the historic polls. As one can’t independently say who the lead candidate is in all states, collation centers remain at work while the world looks on the INEC to declare the winner of the polls in the coming days.  In the meantime, a local newspaper Daily Post has revealed that an Orlu Local Government Electoral Officer, December Aloy Njoku and the INEC Returning Officer for Imo West Senatorial District have been kidnapped by unknown men and the INEC office in Isiala Mbano set ablaze.

Points to note

  • Some polling stations remained functional after the Election Day
  • Deaths recorded as a result of electoral violence in Saturday’s polls.
  • The Feb 23 elections is the sixth quadrennial elections Nigeria has witnessed since the military rule culminated in 1990.
  • The president is voted through an updated two round system, a candidate must score a majority of the vote and above 25% of the vote in at least 24 out of the 36 states. Anything short from this mean that an election re-run is unavoidable.
  • The winner of the polls will have to tackle Boko Haram insurgency, revamp a dwindling economy, fight Corruption, and create jobs for Young people among other things.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Credit image: google images/Nigeria election

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