Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Nigeria’s representative emerged president of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) on 29th March 2017. ECONEC was established to foster credible elections and good practices among member states.
The keenly contested election took place during a meeting of the ECOWAS electoral commissions, Yakubu garnered 10 votes to defeat the Guinean representative who got four votes.
Representatives of the Republic of Benin and GuiGuinea-Bissauerged first and second vice-presidents respectively, while Burkina Faso clinched the position of treasurer.
In a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, the election of Yakubu followed two days of intensive deliberations on how to deepen the conduct of free, transparent and credible elections and by extension strengthen democracy in the sub-region.
According to Oyekamni, the three-day meeting, which began on March 27 in Cotonou, Republic of Benin focused on constitutional and legal frameworks, civic and voter registration, register of voters, electoral logistics, results collation and transmission and technological innovations among others.
He said, “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 recognise the contributions of key stakeholders and continually engage them to deepen confidence and trust in the electoral processes.”
Stakeholders at the meeting included Civil Society Organisations, Peace Councils, Community Based Organisations, traditional and religious leaders, as well as the media. Also present 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.
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, after the review of its electoral processes.