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Nigeria: Commonwealth Observer Group Calls for Peaceful Elections in Nigeria

The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group to Nigeria, H.E. Thabo Mbeki, has urged the country’s political parties, candidates and their supporters to play their part in ensuring peaceful, transparent and credible elections on Saturday, 25 February 2023.

The former President of South Africa made his statement at a press conference in Abuja, following the arrival of Commonwealth observers in Nigeria on 18 February 2023.

Addressing the journalists today, President Thabo Mbeki said: “This month’s elections will be Africa’s largest democratic exercise. The outcomes of the elections will be significant not only for Nigeria, but also for the entire continent. Therefore, we urge all stakeholders in Nigeria to uphold their commitment to ensure a peaceful and inclusive election in which the people of Nigeria are able to freely exercise their right to vote, with the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly fully respected.”

He added: “Our mandate is to observe and assess the pre-election period, activities on polling day and the post-election period. Throughout, we will consider all factors relating to the credibility of the electoral process. We will assess whether the elections are conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Nigeria has committed itself … As we undertake this assessment and conduct our duties, we will be objective, independent and impartial.”

Over the coming days, the group will receive briefings from the electoral authorities, political parties, the media and civil society groups representing women, youth and people with disabilities. This will enable the group to get a better understanding of the situation within the country ahead of the elections.

As of February 2023, an estimated 93.4 million registered voters will have the right to cast ballots for presidential and national assembly candidates in 176,846 polling units across Nigeria.