By Ononye VC
The president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), His Excellency Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, is deploying an ECOWAS Election Observation Mission (ECOWAS-EOM) to monitor the gubernatorial and state assembly elections in Nigeria to be held on Saturday, 18 March 2023.
The deployment of the 163 observers is in line with the provisions of Articles 42(2) and 44(b) of the 1999 ECOWAS Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security: Article 12 of the 2001 Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, and Article 53(c) of the 2008 ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework.
The observers will be drawn from the community institutions (the commission, parliament, and the court of justice); West African ambassadors accredited to ECOWAS; member states’ electoral commissions and ministries of foreign affairs; and electoral experts from civil society. It will also include a 13-member core team of electoral experts that has been in the country prior to the presidential and national assembly elections.
The mission will be backstopped by an ECOWAS technical team under the overall coordination of Ambassador Abdel-Fatau Musah, the ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, peace and security.
The 18 March elections will complete the current electoral cycle in Nigeria, following the 25 February presidential and Nat tooional Assembly elections to which ECOWAS deployed 250 observers across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The 163-member ECOWAS-EOM will be deployed from 15 to 21 March 2023 to 18 states, identified on the basis of a technical assessment and analysis of trends and hotspots, to physically and remotely monitor the elections. The states include the following:
South-West: Lagos, Ogun, Oyo
South-South: Rivers, Edo, Delta
South-East: Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo
North-Central: Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue
North-West: Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto
North-East: Borno, Adamawa, Taraba