Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General to visit Nigeria ahead of polls

04 February 2011

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba will lead a team to Nigeria from 6 to 9 February 2011 to engage key actors and stakeholders involved in the forthcoming April elections, and reaffirm the Commonwealth's support and expectation for a peaceful and credible process.

Mrs Masire-Mwamba will hold talks with political leaders, the Independent National Electoral Commission, civil society, media, members of the diplomatic community and other development partners.

Speaking ahead of her visit, Mrs Masire-Mwamba said that Nigeria is a key and valued member of the Commonwealth family and that the manner in which the forthcoming April elections are held is of much interest to the association.

She expressed the hope that lessons from previous elections will positively inform the conduct of this year’s poll and ensure a credible outcome.

Mrs Masire-Mwamba added: “Any election is a complex and challenging undertaking and requires the cooperation and support of all stakeholders. The election management body must show the necessary technical capability and integrity, political leaders and parties must display political will, the electorate needs to show faith in the democratic process and participate in it, and all must reject violence and respect the rule of law.”

She added: “Much is riding on the upcoming elections and the challenge for Nigeria is to demonstrate that both the process and outcome meet Commonwealth values as well as international and regional electoral benchmarks to which the country has committed itself.”