TRENTON — Former Gov. Jon Corzine is in Nigeria this week with a delegation that will oversee the country's parliamentary elections.
NJ.com, Ginger Gibson, Statehouse bureau, 05.04.11 Corzine, who returned to work in the private sector after losing his bid for re-election in 2009, is making the trip as part of a delegation from the National Democratic Institute, a non-profit that helps to promote democracy. Corzine traveled to the African nation early this week, and will spend the week meeting with election officials, the incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan, main opposition party leaders, and representatives of religious and civic groups, according to Corzine spokesman Josh Zeitz. The election, originally scheduled for April 2, has been pushed back to this Saturday. On election day, the delegation will visit polling locations and observe voting, Zeitz said. On Sunday, they will return to Abuja, the capital, to discuss their observations and issue a statement on the elections. "The postponement has created a substantial challenge for the country, which is working hard to overcome a history of flawed elections," Joe Clark, former prime minister of Canada, who is co-leading the delegation along with Corzine, said in a statement released by the National Democratic Institute. "At stake could be the credibility of Nigeria’s election system, as well as the government that will result from it." The other observers traveling with Corzine include Mahamane Ousmane, former president of Niger; Antonio Manuel Mascarenhas Monteiro, former president of Cape Verde; Marietje Schaake, member of the European Parliament from The Netherlands; Natasha Stott Despoja, former senator from Australia; and Kenneth Wollack, president of the National Democratic Institute.