The Head, ECOWAS Election Observer Mission in Nigeria, former Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has tasked Nigeria to ensure a free, fair and credible election process that would uphold its leadership role in the continent.
Johnson-Sirleaf gave this charge when she visited the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in Abuja on Wednesday.
She commended Nigeria for its contribution toward sustained peace in Liberia adding that she was pleased to be a part of Nigeria’s election process.
She said: “Today, Liberia enjoys 15 consecutive years of peace to which Nigeria contributed an enormous amount of its own human and financial resources.
“That is why it is a great pleasure for me to be a part of this process having gone through a political transition myself, having gone through this process of peace after years of destruction.
“I am very pleased that I will be a part of what we know will be in Nigeria, a process of election that will ensure that Nigeria continues to play a pivotal role of leadership that it does in our continent.”
The former Liberian president said that the purpose of her visit was to meet with relevant authorities and party leaders to better understand and get acquainted with the process.
She said: “I have had the opportunity to meet with the initial observation team from ECOWAS that have already done an initial assessment.
“I look forward to meeting others, particularly the party leaders.
“So that I can leave here ready to return with more knowledge when I come here with the full team sometime next week for when the election observation and its main programme commences.”
In his response, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu, gave the assurance that the commission would not fail Nigeria and the international community.
Yakubu said: “I want to assure you as we approach the 2019 general elections that the commission is not unaware that the eyes of the world are on Nigeria and on our elections.
“This commission will not fail Nigeria and will not fail the world.
“We are going to prove that what happened in 2019 is simply not a fluke and that 2019 is going to be another landmark in our democratic process.”
Yakubu said that the commission looked forward to the mission’s recommendations from observing the elections process.
He said: “Your recommendations will be very critical to us in reviewing, reforming our processes and procedures so that our elections can get better.
“All the electoral commissions get better from the report of observation missions headed by people of your standard.”
He also congratulated the former Liberian president for organising credible elections in Liberia and for the role she now played in elections in the sub-region.
Yakubu said: “The region needs people like you. You serve the region diligently.”