By Sumaila Ogbaje
Ahead of presidential election on Saturday, former Sierra Leone President, Mr Mike Koroma, on Thursday led the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Election Monitoring Team to the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in Abuja.
The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Tukur Gusau, made this known in a statement in Abuja.
Koroma said their mission was to observe the conduct of the upcoming elections and ensure that the process was hitch-free.
He said it was customary for ECOWAS to support member states, “especially that a big brother country like Nigeria prepares to go to the polls to elect its leaders”.
The former Sierra Leonean president said that in the course of their duty, the team had met with critical stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), civil-society and security agencies.
He said the engagement was aimed at ensuring a conducive atmosphere for peaceful, free and fair elections.
The Head of ECOWAS monitoring team identified the issues of fuel scarcity and difficulty experienced by Nigerians to access the new naira currency as contending threats to the elections.
He, however said there was a strong determination by all stakeholders to achieve a hitch-free election.
Responding, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor expressed delight for hosting the team.
Irabor recalled his peacekeeping mission days in Sierra Leone during the reign of Mike Koroma, whom he described as a role model in Africa who did his best to ensure peaceful democratic transition in that country.
On election security, Irabor said that the Nigeria Police Force being the lead security agency with other para-military agencies at the forefront, would have residual support of members of the armed forces.
He emphasised that the military would remain at the background during the elections as demanded by the constitution, which required military aid in support of civil authority.
The CDS assured the team that the military and other security agencies would live up to the expectation of Nigerians during the elections.
He assured the ECOWAS team of a hitch-free and successful electioneering process. (NAN)