Former President John Dramani Mahama is leading the West African Elders Forum (WAEF) which is in Nigeria on mediation mission as the country goes to the polls to elect a new president.
Touted as the biggest election in Africa with a voter population of about 90 million, Mr Mahama and his team, based in Abuja, would ensure that all stakeholders in the election play to the rules.
During a press briefing, he told reporters in the federal capital, Abuja, that former West African leaders are in the country to ensure that there is a peaceful outcome to the polls.
West African Elders Forum
According to him, they were invited by the federal government to observe the polls, adding that they were impressed by the commitment of all the 18 candidates to ensure a violent-free polls.
He said the 2023 election was attracting a high level of interest because Nigeria’s success and progress in that regard would go a long way in stabilising democracy, promoting good governance and maintaining peace in the sub-region.
“We are pleased with the level of preparedness by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security forces policing the elections and other stakeholders involved in the elections, towards conducting a free and fair exercise,” he said at the media briefing.
The West African Elders Forum in December last year, deployed a three-man delegation to Nigeria to undertake a pre-election mediation mission.
The delegation was made up of the former President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Koroma, former Vice President of the Gambia, Fatoumata Tambajang and former President of the ECOWAS Commission and former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
Among other things, the delegation met with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, the National Security Adviser, presidential candidates, political parties, civil society leaders, President of the ECOWAS Commission, development partners and other stakeholders.
Former President Mahama indicated that meetings have been held with a former Nigeria Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and some other former leaders to ensure peaceful polls.
“We are pleased that Gen. Abubakar is a member of our Elders of Forum, just as we also have former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan as our members,” he said.
He said the forum members would also visit other key stakeholders to encourage them in the job they were doing to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections.
The Nigeria election is slated for Saturday, February 25, 2023.
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