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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Leads Carter Center/NDI Election Assessment Mission

ATLANTA, GA....Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will visit Nigeria Jan. 19-22 for meetings with Nigerian Head of State General Abulsalami Abubakar, election officials, party leaders, and others as part of a joint election assessment mission by The Carter Center and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI).

The two organizations are monitoring all phases of local, state, and national elections, including sending a 40-50 member team to observe the Feb. 27 presidential election.

"We are here to support, and call international attention to, Nigerians' courageous steps to form a democratic society," said President Carter. "We are strictly neutral with regard to the outcome of the election, but partial to the democratic process. We hope Nigerians will develop an electoral process in which every citizen will have confidence."

President Carter will be accompanied by Charles E. Costello, director of the Carter Center's Democracy Program, and Christopher Fomunyoh, director of NDI's programs in East, Central, and West Africa. The group will have meetings in Lagos and Abuja with representatives from the three parties that will compete in the national assembly and presidential elections scheduled for February: the Alliance for Democracy (AD), the All People's Party (APP), and the People's Democratic Party (PDP). In addition, the delegation will meet with the Independent National Electoral Commission, the non-governmental Transition Monitoring Group, members of the Nigerian press, and business, religious, and labor leaders.

NDI, based in Washington, D.C., and The Carter Center, based in Atlanta, Ga., have conducted programs to support transparent and credible elections in dozens of countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Americas, and the Middle East.

EDITORS NOTE: An opportunity for the media to question President Carter about his trip is tentatively scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, at the Sheraton Hotel in Lagos. At that time, there also will be a photo opportunity recognizing the work of Lions Club members in Nigeria, who are fighting to eliminate the scourge of river blindness disease.

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