Missouri’s Secretary of State is on her way to Nigeria to observe the upcoming elections there.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan first traveled abroad to observe democracy at work in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when she worked in Eastern Europe, drafting voting laws, training new political leaders and monitoring elections. Now, she’s head to Africa’s biggest country … Nigeria.

Carnahan says she’s working there with a delegation that will meet with government and election officials, political party leaders, candidates, civil society leaders and the media.

She says she’s always inspired to see democracy at work, especially to “see folks who want to transform government, stand in long lines and the polls and take all kinds of risks to have their voices heard.”

She says this election could set the tone for the entire continent’s upcoming elections, since Nigeria is Africa’s biggest country.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is serving as a co-leader of the bipartisan international election observation team, which is organized through the National Democratic Institute.

“Fair elections are at the core of any democracy, and I am pleased to help bring international and domestic attention to the fairness of the Nigerian election process,” Carnahan says.

Carnahan was selected to be co-leader of the delegation along with Joe Clark, former prime minister of Canada; Mahamane Ousmane, former president of Niger and former speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament; and Christopher Fomunyoh, NDI senior associate and regional director for Central and West Africa. The National Democratic Institute has organized more than 150 international delegations to observe elections, pre-election environments and post-election developments. NDI led in developing the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers, which was launched in October 2005 at the United Nations. Those standards have been endorsed by 36 intergovernmental and international nongovernmental organizations, which are engaged in promoting democracy and free and fair elections.

Carnahan says if she’s able, she’ll be posting photos from her visit. Visit www.sos.mo.gov for more.