The Commonwealth has appointed former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, to lead its team of election observers to Nigeria ahead of the February 25 presidential election.
The observer group, which was formed by Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, following an invitation received from the Independent National Electoral Commission, comprises 15 others from around the Commonwealth.
Members of the group include Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Electoral and Boundaries Department, Barbados, Ian Browne; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Botswana, Hon. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi; Director, Africa Programme, Chatham House, United Kingdom, Dr Alex Vines; Fulbright scholar and expert in terrorism and security, Canada, Dr Andrew Knight; Human rights and gender expert, Fiji, Tara Chetty; Executive Director, Institute for Democratic Governance, Ghana, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey; Chairperson, Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations, Seabata Motsamai; Former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Ghana, Dr Mohamed Chambas.
Others are the Former Speaker, East African Legislative Assembly, Rwanda, Rt. Hon. Martin Ngoga; Former Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Hon. Sarah Flood-Beaubrun; Former Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Heritage and Culture, and former Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Kenya, Hon. Amina Mohamed; Legal and data analytics expert, Kenya, Linda Bonyo; Director, Brenthurst Foundation, South Africa, Dr Gregory Mills; Former Chief Electoral Officer, Zambia Electoral Commission, Kryticous Nshindano; and a journalist from Uganda, Josephine Karungi.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Commonwealth said “the observers will be in Nigeria from 18 February to 2 March 2023. They will be supported by a staff team from the Commonwealth Secretariat led by Joshua Setipa, Senior Director of the Strategy, Portfolio, Partnerships and Digital Division.”
Scotland said the Commonwealth remains a committed and reliable partner in Nigeria’s continuing journey towards peaceful democratic governance.
She said the Commonwealth observing general elections in Nigeria since 1999 shows support for the promotion of the culture, processes and institutions of democracy in Nigeria.
“In accordance with the values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter, the work of the group seeks to promote transparency, strengthen democracy and the rule of law, and protect the right of the people of Nigeria to participate in credible, transparent and inclusive elections to shape their society,” she said.