The legendary former Nigerian leader, General(now Dr) Yakubu Gowon will be part of the Carter Center's observer team to Guinea's run off election next Sunday.
Gowon will be will be accompanied by the Centre's Vice President for Peace Programs John Stremlau. The Center's mission will deploy throughout the country 30 observers representing more than 13 nations.
The Carter Center election observation mission, which has been in Guinea since May 2010, has deployed observers throughout the country to assess election preparations. They have also been joined by a delegation of short-term observers for the June 27 first round of elections.
A statement from the Center stated:
"The Carter Center appreciates the ongoing determination and leadership of Interim President General Sekouba Konaté to pilot the transition process in the spirit of the agreement signed in Ouagadougou on January 15, 2010."
Guinea's run off election has been postoned many items in the midst of violent incidents and ethnic tensions.
"A well-organized, transparent, and credible runoff election, with results accepted by all parties, will be a major step toward a promising future for the people of Guinea," said General Yakubu Gowon.
Gowon is a highly respected African statesman who led government forces into victory over the Biafra rebels in the 60s. He later became president of Nigeria, went back to school in England and got a PhD in Political Science. Gowon expressed optimism over Guinea's future:
"While this election represents an important political opening for the people of Guinea, future elections – legislative and municipal elections in the near future – will allow Guineans to continue along the path of democratization and ultimately to fulfill the potential of this beautiful country," he said, adding:
"Our mission wishes to thank the Guinean authorities and people, who have warmly welcomed our observers in all regions. We stand by you on this historic occasion."
Guinea is a small, mineral-rich West African country with a troubled past.