ECOWAS Observation Mission, Sunday, in Abuja, said the Presidential election met the criteria of fairness and transparency and commended INEC for its leadership and professionalism.
Head of the Mission, Prof. Amos Sawyer, in a preliminary declaration on the polls, also commended the Federal Government and stakeholders for ensuring a peaceful and orderly election.
He called on all candidates in the race to accept the outcome of the polls.
Sawyer, however, said that “where absolutely necessary, candidates may resort to constitutional and legal channels for remedy.
“Having found no major incidents or irregularities, the ECOWAS Observation Mission is persuaded that the election of April 16, 2011 meets the criteria of being free and transparent, thus making it a historic step for the strengthening of democracy and good governance in Nigeria,” he said.
Sawyer said his 300-member team was deployed to the six geo-political zones to effectively monitor the polls.
He noted the high participation of women and young people, timely availability of all election materials in majority of polling stations as well as the enthusiasm of voters to perform their civic responsibility.
“We observed the relatively good knowledge of and compliance with voting procedures by election officials and consequently their enhanced capacity to effectively administer the process.
“We also noted the presence of representatives of major political parties including the ACN, CPC and PDP in most polling stations,” he stressed.
Sawyer, who is Liberia’s former President also said the successful conduct of the process of counting at the polling stations was in accordance with the Electoral Act.
He, however, noted that there were shortcomings in the areas of incomplete voter registration, slow rate of voting in Akwa Ibom and Delta States and closure of some polling centres before the official closing time, among others.
Sawyer condemned the violence in Kaduna and Maiduguri which led to loss of lives and urged government to take necessary measures to avoid similar occurrences in the future.