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