The Commonwealth has appointed former President Goodluck Jonathan as the head of its Election Observation Mission to Pakistan’s general elections.
The election is billes to hold on February 8, 2024.
This was disclosed by Jonathan’s aide, Ikechukwu Eze, in a statement, on Wednesday.
The Commonwealth of Nations, often simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is an international association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire from which it developed.
Jonathan served as Nigeria’s President on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party from 2010 to 2015.
“Jonathan will be leading a group of multidisciplinary experts from across the Commonwealth to observe the elections in Pakistan and offer an independent and comprehensive assessment of the electoral process,” the statement partly read.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, in a letter commended Jonathan for agreeing to undertake the assignment, adding that “the Commonwealth Observer Group would benefit from his leadership, experience and wisdom.”
The Commonwealth Secretariat, in a statement, expressed that the 13-member Observer Group is due to arrive in Islamabad on February 1, 2024 and will remain in the country until the electoral process is completed.
Scotland added, “I am grateful that the former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has once again accepted our invitation to serve as Chair of an election observer group. The team of observers will assess the conduct of the process as a whole and, where appropriate, make recommendations for the further strengthening of the electoral system.
“It is hoped that these recommendations will be of benefit to the people and government of Pakistan in strengthening their electoral processes. The Commonwealth Secretariat would be ready to assist with this process, if deemed necessary.”
She also called on all stakeholders, including political parties and their supporters, to contribute to a peaceful election in keeping with the Commonwealth values.
According to Scotland, members of the observer group will be stationed across the country all through their stay.
“The COG will be supported by a team from the Commonwealth Secretariat led by Mr. Linford Andrews, Adviser and Head of the Electoral Support Section,” it added.
The Commonwealth further stated that while in Pakistan, members of the observer group will also meet with a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from political parties, election officials, the media and civil society groups.
According to Commonwealth, members of the COG will observe and consider all aspects of the election process across Pakistan- from the opening of polling stations and the voting process to the counting of ballots and announcement of results on election.
It added that “following election day, the group will hold a press conference and issue an interim statement with its preliminary findings.
“A final report, which will include recommendations to help improve future electoral processes, will be presented to the government of Pakistan and the Election Commission. The report will also be shared with other stakeholders.”