Abuja, Nigeria – IRI today announced it will lead an international pre-election assessment delegation to Nigeria. The delegation, led by His Excellency John Kufuor, former President of Ghana, will arrive in Nigeria on February 28 to begin a four-day mission to assess the progress of preparations, logistics and the overall environment for Nigeria’s upcoming national elections scheduled for April 2011. Elections will be held over the course of three weeks: National assembly elections will be held on April 2, the presidential election on April 9, and gubernatorial, state assembly and local government area elections on April 16.
The delegation will meet with Nigerian officials in the executive branch and the national assembly, as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission. In addition to meeting with government officials, the delegation will meet with other stakeholders in the electoral process including security officials, political parties, judiciary, academic and religious leaders, representatives of the media and media regulators, and diverse civil society organizations. At the end of the mission the delegates will meet with members of the media to discuss findings and make recommendations. Members of the delegation are:
- His Excellency John Kufuor, former President of Ghana (2001–2009), will serve as delegation leader and will draw upon his experience as a pivotal leader in Ghana’s transition to democracy. President Kufuor also chaired the African Union from 2007–2008.
- Dan Fisk, IRI’s Vice President for Policy and Strategic Planning, who served previously as Senior Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council, following other high-level posts at the State Department and U.S. Congress.
- Charles Lasham, an elections consultant with more than 30 years of experience, who served previously as Nigeria Country Director for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
- Martin Kimani, Director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center at the Atlantic Council.
- Fernand Julien Gauze, Secretary General for the Convention of Ivorian Civil Society will represent IRI’s sister organization, the National Democratic Institute.
- Paul Fagan, Regional Director of IRI’s Africa division based in Washington, DC.
Mourtada Deme, Country Director of IRI’s Nigeria program based in Abuja.