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Former Malawian President to lead Commonwealth observers for Nigerian elections

30 January 2015

The Commonwealth Observer Group for the forthcoming Nigerian Presidential and National Assembly Elections, to be held on 14 February 2015, will be led by Dr Bakili Muluzi, former President of Malawi.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma constituted the Group at the invitation of the Chairperson of the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria.

Mr Sharma said: “Nigeria is one of the largest democracies in the Commonwealth family. We continue to encourage Nigeria to exercise leadership and uphold democracy through credible elections. 

“It is our hope and expectation that the people of Nigeria will be afforded an opportunity to exercise their franchise in an environment free from violence, on a level playing field, with transparent and credible processes”.

The Commonwealth Observer Group’s mandate is to observe and consider the various factors affecting the credibility of the electoral process as a whole. It will determine in its own judgement whether the elections have been conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Nigeria has committed itself, with reference to national election-related legislation and relevant regional, Commonwealth and international commitments.

The Observer Group is impartial and independent, and will conduct itself according to the standards of the International Declaration of Principles for Elections Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

The Group will submit its Report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the Government of Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission, political parties and eventually to all Commonwealth governments. It will then be made public.

A staff support team of six persons from the Commonwealth Secretariat led by Ms Katalaina Sapolu of the Secretariat’s Rule of Law Division will support the 11 member Observer Group.

The full list of the Commonwealth Observer Group is:

HE Dr Bakili Muluzi
Former President of Malawi

Ms Ellen Seckold
Former Co-Chair, Commonwealth Youth Forum, Australia

Dr Fonkam Azu’u
Chairman, Elections Cameroon, Cameroon

Ambassador Nana Effah-Apenteng
Former Diplomat, Ghana

Dr Rupert Roopnaraine
Member of Parliament, Guyana

Mr Orette Fisher
Electoral Commission of Jamaica, Jamaica

Mr Ahmed Issack Hassan
Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Kenya

Professor Aishah Bidin
Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, Malaysia

Ms Papama Nomboniso Gasa
Political Analyst, South Africa

Hon Dr Miria Matembe
Former Minister and Member of Parliament,Uganda

Ms Elizabeth Blunt
Writer and Broadcaster, United Kingdom