Following on the heels of recent shift in the polls, the Economic Community of West African States Commission on Monday told President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the nation’s Constitution was respected.
President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Desire Ouédraogo, said this while speaking to State House correspondents shortly after leading a delegation to a meeting with Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ouédraogo said the mission of members of the delegation was to inform Jonathan about the findings and recommendations of the commission’s fact-finding mission in Nigeria.
He said, “ECOWAS by virtue of its mandate is to monitor and observe all the electoral processes in our community. To that effect, we have sent a fact-finding mission in Nigeria, led by John Kufuor, former President of Ghana, and later on, we have set up a long-term observation that came into the country. They were deployed in the five geo-strategic zones of the country and they made their report.
“In spite of the postponement of the elections, there was a de-briefing with them and we thought it is necessary to share their observations with all the stakeholders and it is in that respect that we came this morning to inform His Excellency about the findings and recommendations of our fact- finding mission.
“We are going to engage with all the stakeholders, the All Progressives Congress candidate and Independent National Electoral Commission to share with them the findings of our observation mission.
“We have also issued a declaration following the postponement of elections, appealing for calm and understanding and also appealing to all authorities to make sure the constitution is respected.”
The ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Salamatu Suleiman, said one of the commission’s findings was that there were too many hate speeches and campaigns ahead of the elections.
The situation, she said, was not good for the polity. She added that the observers also looked into the issue of distribution of Permanent Voter Cards.
She said, “They made observations on issues relating to distribution of Permanent Voter Cards and other issues.
“These issues, as the President of the commission said, we deemed necessary to share with the President of the country, INEC and the other leading political party, the APC.
“One of the issues is that our long-term observer mission said there was a lot of hate media, hate speeches being distributed. It was not good for our polity. It is heating up the polity.
“The President has spoken to all stakeholders to look into lessening this aspect in the electoral process and I think it is an aspect the media can help greatly in addressing.
“This is a very important election for Nigeria, Nigerians are concerned, ECOWAS Community is very much concerned that it all comes out very well and that we all owe it as a duty to say very positive things that can move this nation forward.”