On the eve of presidential and parliamentary elections in Nigeria, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, commends Nigerians for a pre-election period that has been largely, peaceful and participatory. He encourages all Nigerians to continue to maintain calm and to exercise patience and restraint throughout the voting process and the announcement of the final results.

He welcomes the signing on 13 February of the Second National Peace Accord by Presidentialcandidates and urges them to mobilize theirsympathizers and supporters to adhere to the tenets of free, fair, transparent, inclusive and credible elections, devoid of hate and denigration of each other.

The Special Representative calls on all Nigerians to firmly reject all undemocratic and negative voices that may seek to disrupt the elections and promote conflict between Nigerians. He encourages Nigerians to come out in their numbers and cast their vote peacefully in exercise of their civic responsibility.

The Special Representative affirms that the success of the polls is the responsibility of all Nigerians and relevant Nigerian institutions, particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, political parties, candidates, religious leaders, civil society. IbnChambas urges all candidates and party leaders to seek redress of any grievances they may have through legal and constitutional means.

While calling on the all stakeholders to prioritize the interest of the country, the Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel hopes that the successful conduct of peaceful, free, fair, transparent, inclusive and credible elections will set another example for the elections coming up in West Africa and Africa, and underscore Nigeria’s leadership in the region.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).