Former President John Dramani Mahama has said that one thing that has struck him in his pre-election mission in Nigeria for the West African Elders Forum (WAEF) is the confidence all the candidates and parties have expressed in the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said all the parties all testify that INEC has listened and taken their concerns on board.
Unfortunately, he said in a statement “I can’t say same for my Electoral Commission (EC), which was once among the best election management agencies in the world.
“The hostility of the Chairperson of the EC and her other Commissioners to one political party is legendary. How I wish our own EC can inspire the same level of confidence in all its stakeholders.”
He added that “Regrettably, I am not hopeful this will happen when we have an EC that has blatantly spurned all efforts by the National Peace Council to host a meeting between the Commission and the two major political parties, the NDC and NPP.”
Mr Mahama is heading the WAEF in Nigeria as the country chooses a new leader on Saturday, February 25.
Interacting with journalists on the eve of elections in the federal capital, Abuja, Mr Mahama said the former West African leaders are in the country to ensure that there is a peaceful outcome to the polls.
He intimated that they were invited by the federal government to witness the polls and so far they are impressed with the commitment of all the 18 candidates to ensure violence-free elections.
“This year’s election is attracting this level of interest because Nigeria’s success and progress in this regard will go a long way in stabilizing democracy, promoting good governance and maintaining peace in the sub-region,” the former Ghanaian President told journalists on Friday, February 24.
“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 disclosed that last December, the Forum deployed a three-man delegation to the country to undertake a pre-election mediation mission.
The delegation was made up of former President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Vai 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 and Head of the UNOWAS Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
During the mission, the delegation met with President Muhammadu Buhari, INEC Chair Prof Mahmood Yakubu, National Security Adviser, presidential candidates, political parties, civil society leaders, President of the ECOWAS Commission, development partners and other stakeholders.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana