The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, says the Guinea Bissau legislative elections, scheduled to hold November 18 has been rescheduled to hold in December for technical reasons.
The minister disclosed this after a meeting between the ECOWAS special delegation and the President of Guinea Bissau, José Mário Vaz on Tuesday in Bissau.
He stressed that the elections would come up before the end of 2018.
The delegation was led by Mr Onyeama and President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean -Claude Kassi Brou, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari who is the current President of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.
The delegation was in Guinea Bissau to discuss how to ensure a peaceful and hitch-free legislative election in that country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the elections were earlier scheduled for November 18 following an ECOWAS brokered agreement between President Jose Mario Vaz and the opposition in April.
The 102 members of the National People’s Assembly are elected by two methods.
One hundred members are elected, using closed-list proportional representation from 27 multi-member constituencies whilst two are elected from single-member constituencies representing expatriate citizens in Africa and Europe.
Mr Onyeama expressed Mr Buhari and ECOWAS’ determination to ensure that the legislative elections do not go beyond 2018.
“We had an excellent meeting with the President of Guinea Bissau.
“What is most important, at this stage, is that the legislative elections that had been scheduled to take place on November 18, for some technical reasons will have to be shifted a bit.
“Because all the electoral kits have not arrived and of course, Nigeria is committed to providing these electoral kits.
“Unfortunately, there are one or two issues; a large majority of them have arrived, there is another 145 which are on their way.
“So the deadline for the census, for the counting will have to be shifted a bit and the legislative elections itself will have to be shifted a bit,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Nigeria had approved $500,000, seven vehicles, 10 motorcycles and 350 electoral kits to facilitate a successful conduct of the legislative elections in Guinea Bissau.
The minister expressed delight at the success of the meeting with Mr Vaz and other stakeholders, saying; “everybody is on the same page’’.
He said ECOWAS was fully committed to the process and to have hitch-free elections.
The minister urged the people of Francophone country not to lose confidence in the process or be manipulated by anybody into believing that ECOWAS is not as committed to the process.
“We are fully committed; President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the President of the ECOWAS Authority of Head of States and Governments, is absolutely determined.
“He is determined that the agreement in Lome, earlier this year about the election taken place this year (the legislative election), is fully maintained.
“We are happy that we are all on the same page with the government, so the people of Guinea Bissau should not despair.
“They should know and be reassured that we are all doing everything that is necessary to ensure that this process is seen through and the people express their political power through the ballot box.’’