Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, will be leading the African Union (AU) Elections Observation Mission to Nigeria for the February 16, presidential and National Assembly elections.
The team also include the Commissioner for Political Affairs, African Union Commission, Minata, Samate Cessouma.
Cessouma disclosed this development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, while briefing journalists at the AU Secretariat on the side lines of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union.
Cessouma spoke on the theme “Conflict Prevention as a Strategy Towards Durable Solutions for Forced Displacement in Africa.”
She recalled the importance political and economic of Nigeria in terms of her population, not only on the West African sub-region, but in Africa.
Cessouma said the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, visited Nigeria and part of the discussion with Nigerian authorities was the forthcoming elections.
“President Faki visited Nigeria and part of the agenda discussed with Nigerian authorities was also the elections.
“And we are going to send observation mission which will be led by former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, His Excellency, Hailemariam Desalegne. He is the person who is going to lead our mission there,” Cessouma said.
Cessouma added that the team would discuss and she would see to it that the team was in Nigeria during the country’s elections.
“Nigeria is a very important country for all Africa, important in terms of population, important in terms of economy and important in West Africa.
“In West Africa, we have the headquarters of ECOWAS. We need peace not just for Nigeria, but for all Africans.
“We don’t need any conflict coming from elections and with all partners, we will work together to be sure that we will have free, fair, democratic and peaceful elections in Nigeria,” Cessouma added.
On the 2019 theme of the African Union, Cessouma said the declaration of the theme by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union was in recognition of the enormity of challenges posed by forced displacement in Africa.
She said a number of factors such as underdevelopment, inequality, poverty, including disparity between women and men, sexual and gender-based violence, amongst others, continued to drive forced displacement on the African continent.
Cessouma added that Africa is currently home to more than one-third of the global population of forced displacement, including 6.3 million refugees and asylum seekers, and 14.5 million internally-displaced persons.
She said it was important for the African continent to focus on how to prevent conflicts as part of its strategies towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa.
The strategies, Cessouma listed, were early warning, meditation and negotiation, signing, ratifying, domesticating and implementing all key legal and policy instruments on humanitarian assistance, concerted efforts to implement the Master Roadmap on Practical Steps towards Silencing the Guns and ending all wars on the continent by 2020, and expediting the operationalisation of the African Humanitarian Agency.