Elections 2023: Commonwealth Observer Group in Nigeria

Event date: 25 February 2023, 5:00 - 23:00
Nigeria elections 2019

Commonwealth election observers were in Nigeria from 19 February to 2 March for the country’s 2023 general elections.

An estimated 93.4 million people were registered to vote for Presidential and National Assembly candidates in 176,846 polling units.

The Commonwealth Observer Group was led by former President of South Africa (1999-2008) H.E. Thabo Mbeki along with 15 other members with distinguished backgrounds in law, politics, election administration, human rights, media, women’s rights and diplomacy. The full team is listed below.

Since 1999, the Commonwealth Secretariat has observed all six successive general elections. In recent years, the Secretariat has been working with Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission on strengthening democratic processes and participation.

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Note: A press conference with the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group, H.E. Thabo Mbeki, was held in the week commencing 27 February in Abuja. Please e-mail us for further details.

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Nigeria Elections 2023



The Commonwealth Observer Group members, in alphabetical order by country name, are:

  • H.E. Thabo Mbeki (Chairperson), Former President, South Africa
  • Ian Browne, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Electoral and Boundaries Department, Barbados
  • Hon. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Botswana
  • Dr Andy Knight, Distinguished Professor, Fulbright scholar and expert in terrorism and security, Canada
  • Tara Chetty, Human rights and gender expert, Fiji
  • Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director, Institute for Democratic Governance, Ghana
  • Dr Mohamed Chambas, Former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Ghana
  • Hon. Amina Mohamed, Former Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Heritage and Culture, and former Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Kenya
  • Linda Bonyo, Legal and data analytics expert, Kenya
  • Seabata Motsamai, Executive Director, Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organizations, Lesotho
  • Rt. Hon. Martin Ngoga, Former Speaker, East African Legislative Assembly, Rwanda
  • Hon. Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, Former House Assembly Speaker, Former Minister for Women Affairs and Former Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Saint Lucia
  • Dr Gregory Mills, Director, Brenthurst Foundation, South Africa
  • Josephine Karungi, Journalist, Uganda
  • Dr Alex Vines, Director, Africa Programme, Chatham House, United Kingdom
  • Kryticous Nshindano, Former Chief Electoral Officer, Zambia Electoral Commission, Zambia

Commonwealth Observer Groups (COGs)

The Commonwealth Secretariat is one of the original signatories to the 2005 Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation.

In addition, Commonwealth Observer Groups abide by the Commonwealth’s Revised Guidelines for the Conduct of Election Observation in Member Countries, which were adopted at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in 2018.

These stipulate that:

  • COGs are “independent, including of the Secretariat. Members of a COG are invited by the Secretary-General to be a part of the team and each member is invited in their personal capacity as an eminent Commonwealth citizen, not as a representative of any member country, government or political group”.

More information on the role and mandate of observers can be found in the Commonwealth Handbook on Election Observation.


Arrival Press Conference

The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group to Nigeria’s general elections 2023, former President of South Africa H.E. Thabo Mbeki, held a press conference on 20 February in Abuja to deliver the group’s arrival statement and answer questions from the press.


Media contact

  • Snober Abbasi Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • T: +442077476168 | E-mail


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