Nigeria’s representative, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who is also Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has emerged President of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC).
Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, Yakubu’s Chief Press Secretary, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to Oyekanmi, the INEC boss emerged president after a keen contest in Cotonou, Republic of Benin.
Oyekanmi said the INEC chairman polled 10 votes to defeat his Guinean counterpart, who received four votes.
He said that Republic of Benin and Guinea Bissau candidates emerged First and Second Vice Presidents respectively, while Burkina Faso clinched the position of Treasurer.
Oyekanmi stated that Yakubu’s election followed two days of deliberations on how to deepen the conduct of free, transparent and credible elections as well as strengthen democracy in the sub-region.
He stated that the three-day meeting, organised by ECONEC, began on March 27 in Cotonou.
“It focused on constitutional and legal frameworks, civic and voter registration, register of voters, electoral logistics, results collation and transmission and technological innovations among others.”
According to the chief press secretary, participants of the meeting discussed the need for member-states to prioritise the production of credible register of voters.
Oyekanmi stated that participants also considered the application of technological innovations in the electoral process as a facilitator rather than a remedy for achieving credible elections.
“The meeting implored member states to boost the capacity and training of electoral officials with the overall goal of engendering efficiency in the conduct of free, fair and credible elections across the sub-region.
“Besides, the meeting called on security agencies across the member countries to always remain neutral and respect the rights of citizens in the discharge of their sacred duty of safeguarding electoral processes.
“The participants also called on member states to recognize the contributions of key stakeholders and continually engage them to deepen confidence and trust in the electoral processes.’’
He stated that stakeholders at the meeting included Civil Society Organisations, Peace Councils, Community Based Organisations, traditional and religious leaders, as well as the media.
Others were Chairpersons, Vice Chairpersons and Members of Electoral Management Bodies, representatives of ECOWAS, and National Parliaments and ministries in charge of elections in member-states.
ECOWAS was established in 1975 to foster economic integration among member states.
The regional body has since 1990 expanded its focus to include the pursuit of political integration in the sub-region.
Following the review of electoral processes, the Electoral Assistance Division (EAD) was set up within the ECOWAS Commission in 2006 to organise and coordinate the organisation’s electoral support to member states.
ECONEC was created to promote credible elections and good practices among member states.