By Oloniruha Emmanuel
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, says the commission will not disappoint Nigeria and the world in the conduct of the forthcoming general elections.
Yakubu made the pledge when he received the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Bernhard Schlagheck, during a courtesy visit to the commission on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the Commission was aware that the world was watching it with high hope, adding that what happened in 2015 was certainly not a fluke, as the commission hoped that 2019 would be a further affirmation of maturity of Nigeria democracy.
“We cannot afford to disappoint Nigerians; we shall not disappoint the international community. Each time we have visitors like you we have been encouraged.
“We are aware that the eyes of the world are on Nigeria for the reasons you have mentioned and more.
“We are also aware that in 2015 Nigeria conducted elections that were commended around the world.
“We have been a beneficiary of the elections. Each time we traveled on election observation around the world, people not only to praise the achievements of Nigeria in 2015, but wish to learn on the experience of Nigeria.
“It is 36 days today from the 2019 election; already the long term observation mission of the European Union is in Nigeria for the election, this is a further affirmation of the interest of the international community on elections.’’
Yakubu commended the German Government and other international development partners for their support to INEC and the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commission (ECONEC) member countries.
“What Nigeria achieved in 2015 and what we hope to achieve in 2019 is not just in the handiwork of what you see in the commission, but also the commission we received from the international community.
“So we appreciate these supports and I want to assure you that we will not let the world down.’’
Schlagheck advised INEC to be the guarantor of peaceful and credible elections in the country, saying the world was watching whatever happened in the country.
He described Nigeria as the biggest country in Africa and the economic power house of the continent.
“Nigeria has 200 million people. It has the dimension of Germany and France together. That is how big you are. You are heavy weight giant in the continent.
“Whatever happens in Nigeria has very important repercussion on the rest of the continent and I will say on the rest of the world because Nigeria is a very important country seating on a lot of wealth, oil and natural resources.
“So, the way you handle public stability, political stability and economic challenges will be closely watched anywhere, everywhere in the world.
“You have important elections coming up. Last election has been an example in the continent and also around the globe, for how you do political transition peacefully. 2015 is in the back of every politician’s mind around the world.
“So, the standard is there. Of course you will be measured against the standard, whether the same, I will not say transition because it depends on the outcome of the election, but the same peacefulness will reign in February and you have very important role to play there.
“If things go well people take it for granted that is an easy election. Things are a bit more tense, people look at you; that is where you are coming into the game and you have to be the guarantor of free and fair elections.’’
He expressed confidence that INEC was in the hands of competent man in the person of Yakubu to guide the commission through the elections.
Schlagheck, who was accompanied by the German State Secretary, Mr Walter Linner, pledged the Germany government support to INEC as the country prepared for the general elections. (NAN)