A former President of Zambia, in person of Rupia Banda has expressed utmost shock at the number of candidates for the Nigeria’s Presidential election slated to hold on Saturday. He said that the figure of 73 candidates nears the total number of the Zambian Parliament.
He spoke Thursday in Abuja at a meeting with the management team of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The former Zambian president is the head of the Electoral Institute of South Africa, (EISA) which has since deployed 30 international observers for tomorrow’s exercise.
“The importance of Nigeria to Africa and indeed to the world cannot be overstated, so we are very honoured to be here in order to observe and to see how the elections will take place.
“A team of about 30 people will be deployed to various parts of this great nation. We look forward to observing this successful and peaceful election as it takes place this weekend.
“We know how complex the size of the country and the size of the population of Nigeria is. Therefore, we wish Nigerian people under your leadership, Mr. Chairman very successful elections.
“We wish you well on what you have put in with the election population. The many Presidential Candidates is unbelievable. In our country, if I tell the people of Zambia how many members on the list of the Presidential election is almost the number of the whole Parliament in our country so we know how complicated it is.”
In his response, Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, urged the team to be free to offer criticisms when necessary as he noted that EISA’s recommendations after the election would go a long way to deepen the electoral process in the country.
”It is once again our pleasure in Nigeria as we conduct election this weekend to welcome yet another team for peer review, this time around from the Continent led by such an eminent person as His Excellency, Rupia Banda.
“We are always encouraged when people of your standing in the Continent come and observe what we do in Nigeria. We look forward to your important recommendations while assuring you that at the end of the day, we will give consideration to your reports and the recommendations in strengthening our processes and procedures.
“EISA has been supporting democracy and the democratization process not only in Nigeria but elsewhere as well. It has led successful missions to Sierra Leone and Liberia in July 2017 ahead of their elections and EISA provided resource persons.
“We look forward to your report and recommendations after the election. It will help us to strengthen the process in Nigeria. As we open the polling units on Saturday, feel free to move around and make your observations available to us. We are open to criticisms. All the observers are our guest, we assure you of adequate security.”