The Commonwealth Observer Group has listed three yardsticks it will use to assess the outcome of the general elections in Nigeria.
The yardsticks, the group said, would be whether the elections were conducted according to national, regional and international standards.
Apart from these, it also said that it would consider the pre-election period, polling day itself, as well as the post-election period.
Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group, who is also a former President of Tanzania, Dr Jakaya Kikwete, stated these in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Monday.
Kikwete said his team was constituted following the invitation sent to the Commonwealth by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
He said, “I am greatly honoured to have been asked by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland QC, to lead the Commonwealth Observer Group for Nigeria’s general elections, scheduled for February 16, 2019.
“Nigeria is a key member of the Commonwealth family. The Commonwealth has had a long tradition of supporting the nation’s democratic development through election observation over the past 20 years.
“In fact, this will be the sixth time a Commonwealth Observer Group will be observing elections in Nigeria since 1999.
“Our group was constituted following an invitation from the Independent National Election Commission, drawing together 18 eminent persons from across the regions of the Commonwealth, including Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
“We come in our own individual capacities, bringing a wide range of expertise in the areas of election administration, political development, law, human rights, civil society, gender, youth, as well as media.
“As a group, we are here to observe the organisation and conduct of the election process as a whole, and will form an impartial and independent assessment of its credibility.
“The Commonwealth Observer Group will consider the pre-election period, the polling day itself, as well as the post-election period. Our main task is to assess whether the elections have been conducted according to the national, regional and international standards to which Nigeria has committed itself, including its own laws.”
Kikwete also said the Commonwealth Observer Group would issue an interim statement on its preliminary findings on February 18, while its final report would be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, and thereafter shared with the Federal Government, INEC, political parties, Commonwealth governments, and then made public.