Nigeria: Commonwealth Rates 2011 Elections High

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INEC Nigeria

INEC Nigeria

Abuja — The Commonwealth Secretariat in London has declared Nigeria’s 2011 general elections as high in quality and “credible and creditable.”

In the final report by its observer group led by former Botswana President Festus Mogae, the Commonwealth said: “In the event, notwithstanding the postponement of the April 2 National Assembly elections and persistent logistical and organizational deficiencies, and some serious security incidents during the campaign and on the eve of the elections, the 2011elections in Nigeria, by and large, met the national, regional and international standards for democratic elections.

A statement from the Chief Press Secretary to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Kayode Idowu indicates that a copy of the Commonwealth report was handed to the Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, on Thursday when he visited the Marlborough House, the Secretariat headquarters of the Commonwealth in London.

“Indeed, they marked a genuine celebration of democracy in Nigeria, helped to redeem the image of Nigeria as a country that was known only for flawed elections and served to restore the faith of the Nigerian people in democracy. In the process, Africa’s most populous nation was able to make a new beginning”.

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire- Mwamba also told Jega that the Commonwealth is committed to continuing to work with INEC, and to provide support where necessary. She said the association and the Commonwealth membership looks forward to benefitting from the sharing of experiences and distilling good practices from INEC and from Professor Jega himself through the newly established Commonwealth Network of Election Management Bodies.

Professor Jega while welcoming the Commonwealth’s support for the Commission said he looked forward to a continued engagement.

“I wish to acknowledge and appreciate the contribution and support the Commonwealth has made in our electoral process in a number of areas, particularly in the process of reviewing the Code of Conduct for Political parties,” he said; adding: “With elections now behind us, we are looking forward to strengthening the institution and addressing some of the gaps identified during the election process. And we look forward to your (Commonwealth) continued partnership.”

The INEC chairman also commended the role played by the Commonwealth team which observed the April elections, saying that it made “useful and constructive comments.”

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