United Kingdom (Commonwealth Union)_ On 24th June 2023, H.E. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, will head a team of prominent experts to monitor the upcoming general elections in Sierra Leone. The Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, announced that Vice President Osinbajo has accepted her invitation to lead the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) for the elections. The Secretary-General established the observer group in response to an invitation from the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone.
Prof. Osinbajo, a renowned legal expert in the country and a Professor of Law, has been serving as Vice President of Nigeria since May 2015. He will be accompanied by esteemed individuals from diverse fields, including politics, law, media, gender, and election administration professionals from across the Commonwealth, to fulfill their mission. After completing their assignment, the group will hand over a final report with recommendations to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will then share it with the Government of Sierra Leone, the Electoral Commission, political parties, and all Commonwealth governments.
The Secretary-General expressed confidence in appointing Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as the head of the election observers group. She said, “I am grateful to His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for accepting my invitation, to undertake this major area of our work in strengthening democracy across our Commonwealth despite his busy schedule and overseeing a seamless transition of his government. As a senior statesman in the region, HE Osinbajo has a deep understanding of the challenges throughout West Africa, and I am confident that he will lead an exceptional team.” In response, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo expressed his gratitude to the Secretary-General for the opportunity to lead the Commonwealth Observer Group. He said, “I’m highly honored by the unique opportunity to continue to bring my expertise and experience to contribute to deepening democracy, particularly in Africa and the Commonwealth by extension.”
The task of the Commonwealth Observer Group after reaching Sierra Leone will be to monitor the electoral process and give an independent assessment of its credibility. The group will also give its assessments on the conduct of the elections, evaluating whether they adhere to the standards to which Sierra Leone has committed itself, including its own laws. Further, in accordance with Commonwealth methodology, the group will also assess favorable conditions for credible and inclusive elections, the impartiality of the public media, transparency throughout the process, and the freedom of voters to express their will.