Malawi former president Bakili Muluzi who is leading a Commonwealth Observer Group has appealed to Nigerians to remain calm following Saturday’s postponement of the general elections from February to March and April.
Muluzi made the appeal on Monday when he and other Commonwealth observers met Professor Attahiru Jega, Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission. They also met presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, diplomats and members of civil society organisations.
“We have requested to meet President Goodluck Jonathan,” said Muluzi, who appealed to all stakeholders to remain calm and patient and to give the electoral body the support it needs to deliver the important elections.
The election commission said it moved the poll date because troops needed to protect polling stations were being deployed to fight Boko Haram.
“Soon after our arrival, we were informed of the decision taken by the Chairman of INEC to postpone these elections by six weeks in light of the security situation facing Nigeria. We understand and respect this decision, taken in difficult circumstances,” Muluzi said.
Muluzi said they look forward to the rescheduled elections taking place on 28 March, “to enable the people of Nigeria to exercise their democratic right.”
He said: “The Commonwealth Observer Group encourages the relevant authorities to do their utmost to ensure the safety and security of all citizens and deliver the conditions which are conducive for a peaceful and credible poll.”
Former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari from the APC is challenging incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, who heads the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in the upcoming elections in what looks set to be a tight race between the two.