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ECOWAS SENDING 250-MEMBER ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO NIGERIA

21 January 2015

ECOWAS SENDING 250-MEMBER ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO NIGERIA

ECOWAS is sending a 250-strong Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Nigeria for the country’s general elections including the crucial presidential polls on 14 February 2015.

The ECOWAS mission, one of the largest foreign observation teams being deployed in Nigeria, will be headed by former Ghanaian President John Kufuor, who led a fact-finding mission to the country last October.

The deployment of observation missions by the ECOWAS Commission is consistent with the provisions of the regional Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and within the framework of the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Programme for Member States.

An innovation this time is that the EOM, which is due in Nigeria from 10 February 2015, will be preceded by a 12-member Long-Term Election Observation Mission (LTEOM), whose members will be deployed from 22nd January to 18 February 2015.

While the short-term mission will concentrate on the regular observation of the electoral process, before, during and the post-election period, the LTEOM will serve as a rapid response mechanism for emergencies and contribute to the prevention and management of election related conflicts.

The members will provide credible real-time analysis and substantial recommendations and also help to create an atmosphere of public trust and encourage citizen participation.

The LTEOM team will comprise an Election Specialist, who will be responsible for liaison with electoral authority and assessing the work of the Electoral Management Body (EMB) in relation to regional principles governing democratic elections; a Political Legal Specialist with a deep knowledge of the constitutional and legal framework governing the elections, and media specialists who will be responsible for coordinating relations between the press and the mission.

It will include a Conflict Prevention Specialist, who will analyze information related to electoral conflict and also assess measures taken by the Government to encourage the full participation of youth and women in the electoral process and ensure gender parity in representation during electoral process.

There will also be an Operation Specialist, in charge of operational matters, including security and safety of the mission, and a Mission Coordinator, who will serve as the focal point between the field-based long-term observers and the short-term observation mission for logistical matters as well as collection and collation of reports.

The Mission will have a dedicated web portal, and a Situation Room to serve as its Secretariat for daily briefing on the situation and the collection of data.

The Long- and short-term poll observers will be deployed to Nigeria’s six Geopolitical Zones, with the exception of the North-east zone because of the security situation.

Nigeria, with an estimated population of 170 million people has some 70 million registered voters and 22 political parties, which will be contesting for positions in the 469-Seat two-chamber National Assembly, State Legislative Assemblies and Governors, with 14 candidates vying for the presidency.

The general elections are taking place under heightened international interest and security concerns, especially in the North-eastern part of Africa’s most populous black nation.

 

Directorate of Communication, ECOWAS.

 

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