Members of West African Elders election mission arrive in Abuja
By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Former Ghanaian President John Mahama, and former Beninese President, Boni Yayi of the West African Elders Forum (WAEF) election mediation mission, have arrived Abuja to observe the Saturday presidential and national assembly elections.
The Communications Officer, Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, Mr Wealth Ominabo, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
Ominabo also confirmed the artival of former Burkinabe Prime Minister and President of the ECOWAS, Kadre Ouedraogo; and former Deputy Chair of the African Union, Dr Erastus Mwencha.
Also in the team were former Vice President of The Gambia, Fatoumata Tambajang, and Board member of Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, Prof. Adebayo Olukoshi.
Ominabo said that as former leaders of the sub-region, the mission were in the country to lend their support to the democracy consolidation efforts in Nigeria.
He said that the mission would on Saturday visit polling stations in Abuja to observe election day procedures and results collation processes.
He listed other members of the mission to include representatives from Open Society-Africa, including Muthoni Wanyeki; Director for Policy and Engagement, George Kegoro; and Division Director for Participation and Expression, Hawa Ba.
The Executive Director of Goodluck Jonathan Foundation and Head of the WAEF Secretariat, Ann Iyonu, said the elders would be engaging with stakeholders in Nigeria to ensure peaceful and successful elections.
“The respected leaders will chiefly be on hand to engage key stakeholders including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), international organisations, security authorities, candidates and other key stakeholders, towards ensuring free and fair processes as well as peaceful outcomes.”
Iyonu described WAFF as a non-partisan platform for past Heads of State and Government, former Presidents of the ECOWAS Commission and other prominent statesmen in West Africa.
“The role of WAEF Mission is to provide advisory, mediation and conflict resolution support services to the political leaders of the sub-region.”
He recalled that in December 2022, WAEF deployed a three-man delegation to Nigeria to undertake a pre-election mediation mission.
The delegation made up of former President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma; former Vice President of the Gambia, Fatoumata Tambajang.
Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambers, former President of the ECOWAS Commission and former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the UNOWAS was also present.
Iyonu said that members of the Mission would remain in the country until the election procedures were peacefully concluded.
“The mission’s engagements in the country will be guided by the experience and wisdom of its members who, as former Presidents and leaders in the sub-region, had managed elections and overseen successful conflict resolution and peace processes,” she said.