Former Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to lead Commonwealth election observers in Sierra Leone

25 May 2023
Press release

The Former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E Prof Yemi Osinbajo will lead a team of distinguished experts in observing the general elections in Sierra Leone on 24th June 2023.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, confirmed today that Former Vice President Osinbajo has accepted her request to chair the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG). The Secretary-General constituted the observer group upon invitation from the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone. 

Prof Osinbajo is a Professor of Law and one of the nation’s leading legal experts, serving as Vice President of Nigeria since May 2015. He will be joined by recognised dignitaries from various fields including, politicians, legal, media, gender and election administration professionals from across the Commonwealth to carry out the task. 

Speaking on the appointment, the Secretary-General said:

“I am grateful to His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for accepting my invitation, to undertake this important area of our work in deepening democracy across our Commonwealth - despite his busy schedule and overseeing a seamless transition of his government. As a senior statesman from the region, HE Osinbajo understands in depth the challenges across West Africa and I am confident he will lead a brilliant team.”

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to Chair the Commonwealth Observer Group. He said: 

“I'm highly honoured by the unique opportunity to continue to bring my expertise and experience in contributing to deepening democracy especially in Africa, and the Commonwealth by extension." 

Mandate of the Commonwealth Observer Group

Upon arriving in Sierra Leone, the mandate of the Commonwealth Observer Group will be to observe the electoral process and provide an independent assessment of whether the election has been conducted in a credible manner. The Group will then report on the conduct of the elections in accordance with the standards to which Sierra Leone has committed itself, including its own laws. 

In line with Commonwealth methodology, The Group will consider, among other things, whether conditions exist for credible and inclusive elections, including a fair election environment; whether public media has been impartial; the transparency of the entire process; and whether voters are free to express their will.

Upon completion of its assignment, the Group will submit its recommendations in a report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will subsequently share it with the Government of Sierra Leone, the Electoral Commission, political parties and all Commonwealth governments.

Disclaimer: This article has been edited to reflect the inauguration on 29 May 2023 and the start of a new administration

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  • Josephine Latu-Sanft  Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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