West African electoral commissions meet in Abuja

Posted by News Express | 5 August 2019 | 1,121 times

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•Outgoing ECONEC Board Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu

The ECOWAS   Network   of   Electoral   Commissions   (ECONEC),   the   umbrella organisation of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) in West Africa, holds its 6th Biennial General Assembly in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 6-7, 2019. The meeting is to be preceded by an International Symposium on the Promotion of Inclusivity in the Electoral Process holding today in Abuja.

The event is featuring an array of dignitaries, among them Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari; Senate President Ahmad   Lawan; Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; President of ECOWAS Commission, Dr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou; and Vice-President   Finda   Koroma. Others include Secretary   General’s   Special   Representative and Head of the UN Office in West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and the Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr  Ketil Karlson.

The twin event is organised by ECONEC in collaboration with the Independent National   Electoral   Commission   (INEC),   Nigeria   and   the   European   Centre   for Electoral Support (ECES) with funding from the EU and the German Government.

“The symposium,” according to ECONEC Head of Communications, Paul Ejime, “will provide a platform to discuss the legal frameworks and desirable practical steps for enhancing the participation and representation of women, youth and Persons with Disability (PWDs) in the electoral process in West Africa.”

The  ECOWAS  Commission  and  EMBs  in  West  Africa  set  up  ECONEC  in  2008, among other objectives to promote free and credible elections; promote independent and impartial election organisations and administrators; strengthen public confidence in   the   electoral process through free and credible electoral procedures, and to develop a crop of professional election personnel with integrity, a strong sense of public service and commitment to democracy.

The   other objectives are to  bring predictability  to the framework for elections; engender commitment to the promotion and consolidation of democratic culture to create   a   conducive environment   for   the   peaceful   organisation   of   elections;

encourage the   sharing   of   experiences,   information,   technology   and   election Documents  by EMBs and  cooperation  for  the improvement of  electoral  laws  and practices.

The Network is also mandated to promote gradual harmonisation of electoral laws and   practices, as appropriate, capitalising on good practice in electoral matters; rationalisation and pooling of resources to reduce the cost of conducting elections; and   to   improve   the   working   conditions   of   its   members in the fulfilment of their mandate.

Ejime  said in a statement: “After several years of difficult existence due to poor funding and lack of a functional Secretariat, the ECONEC governing board elected in March 2017 at its 5th General Assembly in Cotonou, Benin  Republic,  has  managed  to  turn  the   fortunes  of  the Network around, raising its profile and visibility with demonstrable implementation of impactful activities.

“The agenda of the 6th General Assembly includes the election of a new board to replace the outgoing five-member team headed by Prof Mahmood Yakubu, Chair of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”

Source: News Express

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