Jonathan, Jega Lead West African Leaders To Monitor Liberian Elections

Source: Arise

The team would be on hand to offer their support towards peaceful elections and consolidation of democracy in the country.

Former Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan and former Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Jega are to lead separate teams of West African leaders to monitor the Liberian presidential, senatorial, and parliamentary elections scheduled to be held on Tuesday, October 10, 2023.

While Jonathan will lead West African leaders under the aegis of the West African Elders Forum (WAEF), Jega will lead the short-term ECOWAS Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe the polls.

An estimated 2,471,617 voters out of Liberia’s population of 5.4 million are expected to elect the new President of Liberia, 15 Senators, and 73 members of the House of Representatives.

Jonathan, who left Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital to Abuja en route to Monrovia on Saturday afternoon, has in his entourage, other members of the mission, including former Burkina Faso Prime Minister and one-time President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Kadre Ouedraogo and members of staff of the WAEF secretariat.

The team would be on hand to monitor the elections and offer their support towards peaceful elections, consolidation of democracy in the country, and leveraging their experiences as former leaders of the sub-region.

They will meet with critical stakeholders, including President George Weah, who is seeking re-election, opposition leaders, the electoral management body, and the security agencies.

Members of the WAEF Mission, which is billed to be in Liberia for about 10 days, would visit polling stations in Monrovia to observe Election Day procedures and the results collation process and remain engaged until the results are declared.

Communications Officer of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, Wealth Dickson Ominabo, in a statement yesterday, quoted the Executive Director of Goodluck Jonathan Foundation and Head of the WAEF Secretariat, Ms Ann Iyonu, as saying that the members of the mission would “be holding consultations with the candidates, managers of the elections, and observer missions and other key stakeholders towards ensuring peaceful and successful outcomes.”

The statement also explained that “the role of WAEF Mission is to provide advisory, mediation, and conflict resolution support services to the political leaders of the sub-region,” adding that the members would “remain in the country until the election procedures are peacefully concluded.”

The mission’s engagements in the country would be guided by the experience and wisdom of its members who, as former presidents and leaders in the sub-region, had managed elections and overseen successful conflict resolution and peace processes.

WAEF had conducted similar missions in The Gambia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, a statement issued yesterday by the Executive Director of The Electoral Hub, Princess Hamman-Obels, the former INEC boss arrived in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, on Monday, October 2, 2023, and was welcomed by Ambassador Josephine Nkrumah, ECOWAS Resident Representative to Liberia.

During his stay, the Head of the ECOWAS EOM and his team would hold working sessions with different stakeholders, including the National Elections Commission (NEC), government, civil society organisations, the media, security agencies, as well as political parties and candidates, to ensure the smooth conduct of the electoral process.

“In accordance with the provisions of the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance relating to the observation of elections and ECOWAS assistance, the West African Organisation has deployed a 95-member election observation mission, comprising 80 short-term observers and 17 long-term observers.

“The ECOWAS short-term observers are drawn from the ECOWAS Council of the Wise, the ECOWAS Parliament and the Community Court of Justice, Member States’ Ministries of Foreign Affairs, electoral management bodies, and civil society organisations.

“The role of the West African election observation mission deployed to Liberia is to monitor all pre-electoral, electoral, and post-electoral phases of the election, to ensure that the electoral process complies with international best practice.”

Chuks Okocha, Kuni Tyessi in Abuja and Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

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