Nigerians will tomorrow begin three successive weekends of nationwide elections when they will cast ballots for a new house of representatives and the senate, a national president and state assemblies and governors. The elections are Nigeria’s fourth since the restoration of constitutional rule in 1999. Mr. Ban noted that bold electoral reforms have been undertaken in Nigeria, including significant investments in a new voter registry and other measures designed to promote credible and transparent elections. “The Secretary-General calls on Nigeria’s authorities to uphold their commitment to violence-free elections and to a level playing field that enhances public trust in the electoral process,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson. He encouraged the political parties to respect the electoral code of conduct they willingly adopted, and to uphold their commitment to tolerance, inclusiveness and peace during the electoral process. Mr. Ban stressed that the successful conduct of the elections will strengthen Nigeria’s democracy, advance its socio-economic development, and enable the country to continue to play its leading role in the promotion of regional peace, security and economic integration. 1 April 2011Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said he was encouraged by the progress achieved by Nigeria in consolidating democracy and expressed hope that the forthcoming elections will meet the high expectations of the people of the West African country and the international community.