Commonwealth urges aggrieved candidates to seek legal redress

His Excellency, Thabo Mbeki, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group and former President of South Africa, has urged dissatisfied political candidates to seek legal redress.

He stated this in Abuja on Monday, when he presented the preliminary report of the Commonwealth Observation Group.

Commonwealth observers were on the ground in the Federal Capital Territory, Benue, Edo, Kano, Lagos, Ondo, Rivers, and Sokoto States to monitor the presidential and National Assembly elections.

They observed the accreditation, voting, counting, and aggregation of results.

Mbeki urged citizens to be patient and allow the Independent National Electoral Commission to complete the results process in a peaceful manner.

"We call on all those with grievances to address disputes through prescribed legal channels," Mbeki said.

"Now is the time for restraint and patience as we await the final results."

In addition, he stated that the election was largely peaceful, despite administrative and logistical challenges at many polling locations.

He also praised registered voters' dedication and patience.

"We congratulate all Nigerians for their determination, patience, and resilience displayed throughout the electoral process," said the former South African president.

He also noted an improvement with the passage of a new Electoral Act in 2022, which gave the electoral commission more autonomy, legal support for the use of electronic voter authentication, and frameworks for the inclusion of people with disabilities in elections, among other things.

The Commonwealth Observer Group was formed at the invitation of Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland KC.

Before departing Nigeria on March 2, the group will complete its final report, which will include recommendations that will be forwarded to the Commonwealth Secretary-General at a later date.

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