Dr Dlamini Zuma, the Chairperson, African Union Commission (AUC), has appointed former Mozambique President, Joaquim Alberto-Chissano, to lead a 50-member election observers to Nigeria’s general elections in February. Reports showed that Zuma gave the approval on Thursday in Addis Ababa ahead of Nigeria’s general elections expected to hold between Feb. 14 and Feb. 28.
Reports equally indicated that the country’s Presidential and Parliamentary polls are to hold on Feb. 14, while that of Governorship and State legislators will hold on Feb. 28 across the 36 states of the federation. Chissano is to be assisted by the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr Aisha Abdullahi. Reports had it that the commission had earlier deployed a team of 15 long-term electoral experts to the country under the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM).
Zuma said the long-term experts would remain in the country until March 11 to observe all the critical stages of the electoral process.She said the 15-man long term observers are expected to be joined by Chissano’s short-term observers team, who were selected from different AU member states.
They short-term team are expected to arrive in Nigeria on Feb. 7 to follow the electoral process and to meet with government and electoral officials, candidates and political parties, civil society representatives and the media. According to Zuma, the AUEOM’s assessment of the electoral process would be independent with the purpose to offer impartial assessment of the elections in compliance with the country’s international and regional commitments to democratic elections.
Information had it that the AUEOM is mandated to observe and report on the electoral process in the country in accordance with relevant AU instruments on democracy and elections. The AU instruments include the 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Election and Governance, the 2002 OAU/AU Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa and the 2002 AU Guidelines for Election Observation and Monitoring Missions.
They also include international standards like the 2005 Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation to which the AU is a signatory. Zuma said the AUEOM would issue its preliminary findings and conclusions shortly after the elections while a final report with recommendations for future improvement of elections in the country would be published within two months after the elections.