Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - Head of the 150-member ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Liberia, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has said he is optimistic that the country’s 11 October presidential and legislative polls will be successful.
“From the level of preparations and what I have observed in terms of the manner of deployment of electoral personnel and material, I think Liberia is on course for a successful election,” Professor Jega, chair of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), told journalists in Monrovia after visiting the office of Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) on Friday.
An ECOWAS Commission statement obtained by PANA here Monday said while Jega acknowledged that preparations alone do not translate to a successful election,
he, however, noted that there were positive signs from what he had seen on ground in Liberia ahead of the polls.
Professor Jega, who oversaw the conduct of April's general election in Nigeria, which were internationally adjudged as free, fair and credible, also drew a parallel between the electoral challenges in Liberia and Nigeria.
He said although the Liberian elections commission was dealing with less than two million registered voters compared to Nigeria's 73 million voters, there were lessons to be learnt on all sides towards strengthening the democratic process and good governance in West Africa.
The Head of the ECOWAS Observation Mission described his appointment by the ECOWAS as a great honour and privilege, and pledged the commitment of the team to handle the assignment with dignity, impartiality and diligence.
Speaking after receiving Professor Jega and the ECOWAS Commission’s President, James Victor Gbeho, NEC chair James Fromayan thanked ECOWAS and member states for their financial, technical and logistical support towards successful elections in Liberia
The ECOWAS Observation team will be deployed to monitor the polls across Liberia, Africa’s first Republic with an estimated population of four million people and 1.7 million registered voters.
Under the election time-table, the announcement of the final results of the presidential elections is fixed for 26 October 2011 and a possible run-off for 8 November.
Some 16 candidates are contesting for the presidency, including the incumbent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who was elected Africa’s first female president in 2005.
-0- PANA SEG 10Oct2011