The ECOWAS Long-Term Election Observation Mission which has been described as the harbinger of the enlarged 250-Member ECOWAS Election Monitoring Group on Nigeria’s 2015 General Election, led by the former Ghanaian President, John Kufuor, is deploying close to twelve observers to monitor the process of Nigeria’s February, 2015 elections. The body which will be deploying from Saturday, 31st January, 2015 even though it has been interacting with lots of stakeholders and interested organizations with similar objectives, will report their observations and findings only to the enlarged group.
The Long-Term Election Observation Mission (LTEOM) met the media to intimate on their objective and methodology, Friday, 30th January, 2015 at the ECOWAS Annex Office, Central Business District of Abuja.
The LTEOM Observers include Prof. Ndongo Oumar from Senegal, Madame Adele Maimouna Said from Niger Republic, Damiba Beatrice from Bourkina Fasso and Cillr. Yvette Chesson-Wurreh who is from Liberia would be deployed to the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja).
Others are Etchen Sambu from Gambia and Nana Karikari from Ghana, both of who are being deployed to Kano in Northern part of Nigeria; Donald Ato Dapatem from Ghana and Francis Laleye from Republic of Benin, both of who are being deployed to Lagos; whilst Oscar O. Jerome from Benin Republic and Alicia Kamara from Sierra Leone, both of who are going monitor at Port-Harcourt, Rivers State; as well as Haoua Ide Bana from Niger Republic and Raouf Salami from Togo, both of who will monitor at Enugu, Eastern Nigeria.
The North East Region was not covered by LTEOM Observers; and as one of them briefed, the larger ECOWAS body knows why and only they could answer why the LTEOM Observers were not deployed to that region of Nigeria.
The LTEOM Observers called media attention to the professional and even gender representation on the team as there are two media specialists, two political and legal specialists, two election operators, two conflict prevention and gender experts, and two coordinators.
The Observers further disclosed that they were mandated to listen to people, observe, take notes, interact with other bodies interested in monitoring the general election, like Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), UNDP, UN-Women, EU Observers and collaborate also with them before they were to do their report to the enlarged body which will come later. They said they were not a decision making body as far as the process of the Nigeria’s general election of 2015 is concerned. They however, disclosed that they would be interested in the number of candidates contesting in a particular area and the challenges they are encountering.
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