Saturday 16 February 2019

Breaking News: Commonwealth, AU, EU, ECOWAS Observers Hold Secret Meeting In Abuja Over Elections

The Commonwealth, African Union, European Union and the ECOWAS observers have held a meeting over the postponed general elections. 

Following the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) decision to postpone the 2019 General Elections, the international and local observers for the polls met on Saturday, at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Vanguard reports.
The meeting, which started at about 11.00am, was held inside the Plateau Ballroom of the hotel. 
The meeting, which had in attendance Commonwealth Observer team, EU Observer team, AU Observer team and ECOWAS Observer mission, and others, lasted for about an hour.
Some of the leaders of the local observer groups sighted by newsmen included Mr Clement Nwankwo, Convener, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and Ms. Idayat Hassan, Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD). Others were Mr Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Mr Samson Itodo, Executive Director, YIAGA AFRICA, among others. 
Shortly after the meeting, correspondents approached the Head, ECOWAS Election Observation Mission and former Liberian President, Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, on what the meeting was all about and her reaction to the election postponement. Johnson-Sirleaf, however, declined to comment saying that newsmen would be briefed later.

”I cannot say anything now. We are still on talks. I will brief you later,” she said. A copy of the meeting agenda gotten by NAN was titled: ”Meeting of Heads of International Election Observation Missions in Nigeria.”
The agenda read: ”Opening remarks by H.E. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Head of ECOWAS Election Observation Mission and H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Head of AU Election Observation Mission.

“Discussion on the issue of postponement of the elections and update on the current political situation.

“Discussion on the way forward; and Any Other Business (AOB).” 
Many international and local observers had earlier converged on Nigeria to have independent assessment of the country’s polls and give reports.
Reports have it that INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had, few hours to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, announced the decision of the commission to shift the elections by one week.
Yakubu, who shifted the Presidential and National Assembly elections to Feb. 23, also postponed the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly polls to March 9. 

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