Addis Ababa – The African Union (AU) on Thursday said its election observers would provide accurate and impartial reporting and assessment of the quality of Saturday’s elections in Nigeria and in Senegal, on Sunday.
Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki, has authorised the deployment of AU Election Observation Missions to the two West African countries,” an AU statement said on Thursday.
Nigeria is scheduled to hold Presidential and National Assembly Elections on Saturday, which will be followed by Governorship, House of Assembly and Area Council Elections on March 9.
Senegal will also hold Presidential Election on Sunday.
According to the AU, the objectives of the election observation missions in the two countries is mainly to provide an accurate and impartial reporting or assessment of the quality of elections.
“This will also include the degree to which the conduct of the elections meets regional, continental and international standards for democratic elections.’’
The pan African bloc’s election observers are also expected to offer recommendations for improvement of future elections based on the findings.
“It will also demonstrate AU’s interest to support Nigeria and Senegal’s elections and democratisation processes,’’ the statement noted.
The AU Electoral Observation Mission to Nigeria’s upcoming general elections comprises 50 members, led by former Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.
The mission to Senegal is led by the former Prime Minister of Chad, Albert Padacke, according to the AU.
AU had previously indicated that since its observers’ deployment in Nigeria, Desalegn had been receiving updates from various stakeholders, including political parties, the electoral commission, civil society, government officials and other observer groups.
The AU delegation to Nigeria – Africa’s most populous country, with a population of close to 198 million – also includes the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Minata Cessouma and other high-profile personalities.
The deployment of the delegation to Nigeria followed an invitation by the Nigerian Government and its electoral commission.
Also, the deployment was part of the AU’s mandate and commitment to supporting credible, transparent and inclusive electoral processes across the continent.
Just hours before the opening of polls earlier scheduled on Feb. 16, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced a one-week delay in polling, citing logistical issues. (Xinhua/NAN)