News / Africa

    ECOWAS Chief Poll Monitor Expects Transparent Liberia Vote

    Attahiru Jega (l), Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman (file photo)
    Attahiru Jega (l), Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman (file photo)

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    • Clottey interview with Professor Attahiru Jega,leader of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) poll observer team

    Peter Clottey

    The leader of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) poll observer team says Liberia’s electoral body seems to have adequately prepared for today’s (Tuesday’s) vote.

    Attahiru Jega, who is also chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the regional bloc has deployed about 150 observers to monitor Liberia’s presidential and legislative elections.

    “Our mandate is to witness the elections and to be able to report on the extent of it being free, fair and credible,” said Jega. “We have a range of experienced personalities from all over the West African sub-region as observers in this team…It’s a very well composed team of experts, of people who have been concerned with issues of democratization and elections.”

    He adds that his team will also ensure that the polls will be well organized “in accordance with established international standards.”

    Jega says the ECOWAS observer team will release its preliminary report Wednesday, a day after the vote.

    He expressed hope of a successful election after meeting the chairman of the electoral commission.

    “[It] has made adequate arrangements for the elections,” said Jega. “Our hope now is that all our leading contenders will urge their supporters to be peaceful and to conduct themselves in a manner that is amenable to ensuring the success of the objectives of free and fair elections.”

    He said citizens of West Africa expect Liberians to consolidate their democracy as the country emerges from a long civil war.

    “Liberians have a wonderful opportunity to utilize this opportunity to choose good leaders who can lead their country towards democratic development as well as economic development,” said Jega.

    Jega was praised for organizing a transparent vote in Nigeria’s recent polls. Previous elections in 2007 were described by both local and international observers as fraught with voter irregularities, intimidation and violence.

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