Mr. Mike Koroma, former President of Sierra Leone, led the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Election Monitoring Team to the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in Abuja on Thursday, ahead of the presidential election on Saturday.
Brig. Gen. Tukur Gusau, Acting Director, Defence Information, announced in Abuja.
Koroma stated that their mission was to observe the upcoming elections and ensure that they went off without a hitch.
He said it was customary for ECOWAS to support member states, “especially that a big brother country like Nigeria prepares to go to the polls to elect its leaders”.
The former Sierra Leonean president stated that the team met with key stakeholders such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), civil society, and security agencies while on duty.
He stated that the engagement was intended to create an environment conducive to peaceful, free, and fair elections.
The Head of the ECOWAS monitoring team identified fuel scarcity and Nigerians’ difficulty accessing the new naira currency as competing threats to the elections.
He did, however, say that all stakeholders were determined to have a smooth election.
Responding, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor expressed delight in hosting the team.
Irabor recalled his peacekeeping mission days in Sierra Leone during the reign of Mike Koroma, whom he described as a role model in Africa who did his best to ensure a peaceful democratic transition in that country.
On election security, Irabor said that the Nigeria Police Force being the lead security agency with other para-military agencies at the forefront, would have residual support of members of the armed forces.
He emphasized that the military would remain in the background during the elections as demanded by the constitution, which required military aid in support of civil authority.
The CDS assured the team that the military and other security agencies would live up to the expectation of Nigerians during the elections.
He assured the ECOWAS team of a hitch-free and successful electioneering process.