A Most Learned Lesson To ECOWAS Countries – Adopt The Good Aspects Of The Nigerian Elections, Learn From Its Challenges.


The head of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Elections Observer Mission (ECOWASEOM), former Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma, and the head of the African Union Elections Observer Mission (AUEOM), former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, have Thursday embarked on ‘Exit Meetings’ with the presidential candidates of the two main opposition parties – H.E Atiku Aboubakrr of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and H.E. Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP).

This effort follows the declaration Wednesday of Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the February 25 polls. The chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the pronouncement amidst strong calls by the main opposition parties for the elections to be canceled on the basis that there were grave violations of the electoral process and significant irregularities in the results. The two opposition leaders have described the polls as a sham and indicated their determination to challenge the results.

The agitation, particularly by Atiku’s PDP and Obi’s LP, has raised fears that there could be disturbances to the peace and stability in Africa’s most populous nation. The PDP and LP, who polled the second and third highest votes respectively are clearly extremely influential in Nigeria’s body politic. Leaving nothing to chance, the two heads of the ECOWAS and the AU Missions have therefore, jointly further engaged the aggrieved opposition leaders, commended them for their patriotism in keeping the peace, and emphasized the imperative of seeking redress using the courts of law, rather than the streets.

ECOWAS and the AU are concerned that if the disputed outcome of Nigeria’s elections were to result in violence, it would serve as a very dangerous precedent not only for West Africa but also for the wider African continent.

In a series of tweets, the head of ECOWAS EOM has described the last few days as terrific and praised Nigerians for their ‘graciousness’ in maintaining peace and tranquility.

“It’s been a terrific Mission to Nigeria, thanks to the graciousness of the Nigerian people, Africa’s largest nation remains peaceful after stiffly contested elections,” the ECOWAS HoM said.

President Koroma further stated that “Nothing is perfect in the human endeavour; we acknowledge the shortcomings in the February 25 polls, implore West Africa to adopt the best aspects of these elections and learn from its challenges”.

He also assured that “The leadership of ECOWAS will continue to work with the AU, the West African Elders Forum (WAEF), and the wider international community for a peaceful conclusion of this process.

The former Sierra Leonean President congratulated all the candidates for putting their country first even as they expressed dissatisfaction over the outcome. Then he urged the President-elect to be magnanimous and to reach out to his competitors to chart a peaceful conclusion of the electoral process.. “Their decision to use the courts rather than the streets to seek redress is a true mark of leadership; I urge the President-elect to reach out to his competitors to chart a peaceful conclusion to this exercise,” he said.

©️Sheriff Mahmud Ismail

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