West African leaders have urged Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which serves as the country’s electoral authority, to adhere to the Electoral Act 2022’s requirements for the compilation of results for the presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 25, 2023.
This was announced in a statement released on Tuesday in Abuja by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, former Ghanaian President John Mahama, and other members of the West African Elders Forum (WAEF) Election Mission to Nigeria.
They urged everyone to remain calm while urging INEC to resolve the issues and procedural queries that have already been brought up by various stakeholders.
They contend that INEC’s adherence will maintain Nigerians’ faith in the continuing compilation of Saturday’s election results.
The elders met with presidential candidates Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party as part of efforts to ensure post-election peace (PDP).
The willful reluctance of Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of INEC, to comply with Section 60 of the Electoral Act of 2022’s requirements for the posting of results online was deemed unacceptable earlier on Tuesday by the LP, PDP, and African Democratic Congress (ADC).
The three parties claimed that “monumental differences” existed between what the party agents signed and what INEC officials stated in Abuja based on the results of the election so far.
They urged a cancellation of the election and asked the electoral chief to resign, claiming that the manual transfer of results jeopardized the integrity of the electoral process.
Although the INEC chief maintained that the process must proceed even if not all results were electronically submitted, party agents staged a walkout from the national collation center in Abuja on Monday.
Several party leaders have vehemently decried the inability of INEC representatives at the polling places to upload election results to the IReV. The electoral authority has implemented new technologies for voter accreditation and electronic vote transmission for this year’s elections, including the IReV and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
Nigerians anticipate the announcement of the results by the electoral umpire after elections for the presidency, 360 House of Representatives members, and 109 Senate seats were held on Saturday in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The complete text of the statement is as follows:
WEST AFRICAN ELDERS FORUM (WAEF) STATEMENT REGARDING THE ELECTION IN NIGERIA ON FEBRUARY 25, 2023, ISSUED IN ABUJA, NIGERIA, FEBRUARY 28, 2023
The West Africa Elders Forum (WAEF) Election Mission to Nigeria, 2023, would like to thank Nigerians for their tenacity and patriotism during the Presidential and National Assembly elections that took place on Saturday, February 25, 2023.
We sent out a pre-election mediation mission in December 2022, under the direction of His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma, a former president of Sierra Leone, to communicate with important parties. Our Election Mission, which has been in the nation since last week and is headed by the former president of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, watched the events on election day, February 25, 2023, and has followed the developments ever since the collation process started.
His Excellency Boni Yayi, the former president of Benin, His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the ex-vice president of The Gambia, Her Excellency Fatoumata Jallo Tambajang, the ex-prime minister of Burkina Faso and the ex-president of the Economic Community of West African States, His Excellency Kadre Ouedraogo, and the ex-vice chair of the African Union, Dr. Erastus
The Mission took notice of how Nigerians around the nation showed confidence and patriotism in their nation, overcoming many obstacles to carry out their civic responsibilities. While there were calm elections in many locations, difficulties with the delivery of electoral materials, voter intimidation, ballot box vandalism, and violent incidents in other states caused concern among individuals who were eager to cast their votes.
We applaud Nigerians for maintaining their composure, tolerance, and maturity while they awaited the completion of the collation process.
The Mission observes that various political parties and concerned people have brought up procedural issues and claims of electoral law violations during the results collation process. We urge all parties who have been wronged to gather the necessary evidence and submit it to INEC in compliance with the Electoral Act of 2022.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is urged to fully investigate these concerns and adhere to the electoral law and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when compiling the election results. The Mission recognizes the importance of maintaining Nigerians’ confidence in the ongoing electoral process.
We reiterate that Nigeria is a key player in the sustainability of democracy in West Africa, and it is our collective responsibility to keep the country’s vibrant democracy and the overall peace of our subregion. This responsibility is especially important when it comes to the integrity of INEC and other election management bodies in West Africa.
We therefore compel INEC to fulfill its obligation to conduct legal, legitimate, free elections as per the nation’s laws.
In order to maintain peace and quiet while awaiting the results of the election, WAEF appeals to political parties, candidates, and their supporters.
We have started a series of discussions with some of the presidential contenders and other significant stakeholders, bringing to them our message of hope, understanding, and peace as past leaders who are dedicated to peace and stability in our sub-region.
In the past, WAEF has met with some of the presidential hopefuls, including Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), both of whom are running for the office in Abuja.
In a larger meeting this afternoon that also included the Heads of Missions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), respectively, as well as the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, we also held consultations with Senator Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress and Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
We have persisted in urging the candidates and those who support them to keep the peace and utilize all legal options at their disposal to address their issues and complaints during each of these sessions. This Mission will hopefully continue till the elections are successfully completed.
We therefore implore everyone to exercise caution in carrying out their duties at this time so as not to endanger the nation’s overall stability and peace.
H.E. John Dramani Mahama
President of the Republic of Ghana
Head of WAEF Mission to Nigeria’s 2023
H.E. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria (2010-2015)