U.N. upbeat over peaceful, credible plebiscite in Nigeria

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari looks on during a signature of a commitment to good behaviour in the February 2019 elections, in Abuja, Nigeria. Photo: REUTERS

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADV) – Amidst worries over the confused electoral process in D.R. Congo, the United Nations has expressed optimism that the scenario will be different in Nigeria come February 16.

The UN expressed the optimism through the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohamed Chambas.

In a press briefing Thursday, Dr Chambas said ‘there is an increase in prospects that the forthcoming general elections in Nigeria will be peaceful and credible”.

Chambas said: “In Nigeria, tensions are high ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections of February 16, and the gubernatorial and state assembly elections of March 2.

“However, the prospects for peaceful and credible elections have been increased, following the signing of the National Peace Accord in Abuja on December 11, 2018.

“Over the coming weeks, I will continue to engage actively with all stakeholders in Nigeria, including through the organisation of peace fora in the key states of Benue, Rivers, Kaduna and Kano”.

He expressed satisfaction that progress had been made in democratic consolidation in West Africa and the Sahel, in spite of persisting security challenges.

He recalled that in the past six months presidential elections were successfully organised in Mali, regional and parliamentary elections were held in Mauritania and Togo respectively, and local elections were organised in Cote d’Ivoire.

“However, despite appreciable progress in democratic consolidation in the region, there is a need for continuous efforts to address contentious issues around elections, in order to prevent and mitigate election-related violence, as well as to support inclusive dialogue as a key attribute of inclusive societies.

“This is even more important as, over the next six months, the region will see several high-stake elections in Nigeria, Senegal, Mauritania and Benin,” he said.

© Bur-csa – N.W / From our regional correspondent Tamba Jean-Matthew III – African Daily Voice (ADV) – Follow us on Twitter : @ADVinfo_eng