The Executive Director of the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), Matthias Yeaney, has beseeched the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria to ensure that the conduct of the upcoming February 25, 2023 general election is free, fair and inclusive of people living with disabilities and other marginalized groups.
IREDD is a Liberian research and policy organization that works with grassroots organizations and partners at the local and sub national levels.
The IREDD Executive Director made the remarks recently in Abuja, Nigeria as part of a West African Civil society actors 3-day solidarity visit to Nigeria. The visit, which is under the auspices of the West African Democracy Solidarity Network (WADEMOS), is intended to engage key stakeholders including the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC) and assess preparations for the upcoming election.
WADEMOS is a non-partisan, independent civil society-led transnational democracy solidarity network which consists of over 35 civil society organizations (CSOs) located in all 15 countries in West Africa. The WADEMOS Network delegation includes representatives from the West Africa Election Observation Network (WAEON), the Rencontre Africaine pour la Defense des Droits de I’Homme (African Meeting for the Defense of Human Rights- RADDHO) in Senegal, the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP), the institute for research and democratic development (IREDD) in Liberia, AFLED in Mali, and the National Elections Watch (NEW) in Sierra Leone.
During the visit, the network members held deliberations with stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria, the ECOWAS Commission, the Nigeria Peace Council, political parties, civil society organizations and the media. “The purpose of the visit is to interact with various stakeholders on issues confronting the sub region and the implication of the upcoming Nigerian election on strengthening democracy in the region. As a transnational civil society-led organization, it is important to have firsthand information from the people involved in the processes,’’ Professor Prempeh, WADEMOS Project Director, stated.
“We are concerned about the situation in the sub region. There are about three national elections this year, so it is important that Nigeria, being a regional powerhouse in the sub region, sets the tone for free, peaceful and transparent elections in the sub region,” Professor Prempeh remarked.
Being Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy, the outcome of the 2023 presidential election will have a significant impact on the future political and economic direction of the country, and the West African sub region at large. “We aim to solidarize with civil society, particularly the WADEMOS members in Nigeria, namely, Yiaga Africa, Center for Democracy and Development –West Africa (CDD-West Africa}, Women in Politics Forum (WIPF), and the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) around their planned activities for the 2023 Nigerian general elections and also to strengthen cooperation among pro-democracy actors involved in the election,” the WADEMOS Network Coordinator, Kop’ep Dabugat, noted.