7 December 1998
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, today expressed satisfaction at the conduct of the local government elections in Nigeria held on Saturday 5 December 1998.
On the basis of a report from the Commonwealth Secretariat team which was present in Nigeria during the elections, Chief Anyaoku said he was delighted at the evident enthusiasm of Nigerians at this first election in the transition to democratic civilian rule. The turnout throughout the country reflected the desire of the Nigerian people to achieve that transition. Chief Anyaoku commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for working closely with political parties to facilitate an inclusive and transparent electoral process.
Chief Anyaoku recalled that the Commonwealth had been engaged with the transition programme in Nigeria by providing technical assistance and experts to INEC in the areas of logistics, training and advice. He also expressed confidence that the logistical difficulties experienced in this weekend's election would be successfully addressed in the preparations for the subsequent elections under the transition programme. The Secretary-General reaffirmed the Commonwealth's willingness to continue to assist INEC towards that end.
A 17-member team from the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum was present in Nigeria for the local government elections. The Secretary-General said that he would send a similar team for the State Assembly and Gubernatorial elections in January 1999. The Federal Assembly and Presidential Elections in February 1999 will be observed by a high-level Commonwealth Observer Group.
Chief Anyaoku said: "I congratulate the Chairman of INEC, Justice Akpata, and his colleagues for the successful conduct of this first phase of the electoral programme which bodes well for the elections still to come."
98/86 7 December, 1998