The Head of ECOWAS Election Observation Mission (EOM), former Ghanaian President John Kufuor and former Governor of the State of Colorado in the United States of America, Mr. Bill Ritter, on Saturday commended the commitment of Nigerian voters to the democratic process, despite some of the challenges being experienced.
In separate incidents while monitoring the conduct of the elections in Abuja, Kufour, accompanied by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Kadré Desire Ouédraogo, and other members of election technical support team, observed the delay in commencement of accreditation due to late arrival of INEC officials and voting materials.
He lauded the voters for waiting patiently on the queues and even initiating the allotment of numbers to facilitate the process when it finally began.
“Going by the orderliness exhibited by the voters, it is clear that Nigerian electorate are determined and committed to strengthening democracy in their country,” Kufuor said.
In his own remarks, Ritter praised Nigerians for “trying to build deeper and deeper roots for democracy in this country” in spite of the technical hiccups experienced in some voting centers during the presidential elections across the country.
Ritter, who was part of an election observatory delegation from the National Democratic Institute, told THISDAY at the Sagearo Primary school, Dutse Alhaji – one of the voting units under the Bwari local council that “It’s a fascinating time to be here at the election time. I have been able to witness the enthusiasm that people have in their ability to exercise their votes.
“So we at the National Democratic Institute, we care about democracy around the world and Nigeria is one of the most if not the most important country in Africa and to deepen the roots of democracy here.
According to Ritter, “And we are watching an election where we can actually see this happening on a Saturday of March 2015. That’s a very heartening thing. It makes my heart swell to see people excited to exercise their votes and in other words, they are building deeper and deeper roots for democracy in this country and on this continent.”
Although actual voting in the center had been delayed as a result of late arrival of election materials as well as dysfunctional card readers, the former Colorado governor, however, said: “The good news is people are still going to be able to vote even if the fingerprint does not read, they still get the incident form and they are able to vote.”
He said issues regarding card reader failure would be looked into after the elections are concluded. Voting at some other polling units progressed without any hitch part from the initial logistic hiccups.