ECONEC Chair Yakubu meets CENI, ECOWAS Mission Head in Mali

AHEAD of Mali’s Sunday crucial presidential election, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, president of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, ECONEC, governing board and chair of Nigeria’s Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, met in Bamako, Saturday with officials of Mali’s Independent electoral commission, CENI, and Head of ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Mali, Amb. Kadre Desire Ouadraogo, former Burkina Faso Prime Minister and immediate past president of the ECOWAS Commission.
Prof Yakubu’s delegation, which includes some senior INEC officials, was received by Amadou Ba,  CENI president, and  Moctar Mariko, a lawyer and president of Mali Human Rights Association.
Yakubu (middle) with other Officials
Yakubu (middle) with other Officials

Both sides discussed preparations for Sunday’s poll and the strengthening of cooperation between ECONEC and CENI in line with the Network’s mandate on assistance, information and experience sharing, peer review and advocacy for support of election management bodies, to deepen electoral integrity and consolidation of democratic governance in the region.

President Bah thanked the ECONEC chief for the solidarity visit.
During a separate meeting at the ECOWAS Situation Room, Prof Yakubu and Amb Ouedraogo underscored the need for synergy and collaboration among international observation missions and development partners to accompany Malians on the path to stability, democracy and good governance.
Yakubu, Oudraogo at meeting with other officials
Yakubu, Oudraogo at meeting with other officials

The 171-member ECOWAS observation mission to Mali led by Amb. Ouedraogo includes ECONEC Secretariat Staff, with the ECONEC Permanent Secretary, Francis Oke, Head of the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division, also serving as member of the ECOWAS Technical Team, supporting the Mission, whose members are deployed in parts of Mali’s eight administrative regions.

Some eight million registered voters among Mali’s estimated 18 million national population, go to the polls on Sunday to elect a president in a field of 24 candidates, including sitting President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 73, seeking a second five-year mandate, and with only one female contestant.
– July 29, 2018 @ 1:05 GMT |

2019 elections will be most widely covered event in Nigeria – INEC

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured that the 2019 general elections will be the most widely covered event in Nigeria.

Yakubu, who gave the assurance on Friday in Abuja at the 67th World Congress of the International Press Institute (IPI), also assured the World that INEC was committed to credible elections.

“The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) has regularly conducted
election debates involving candidates at national level.

“A number of media organisations have given similar opportunities to candidates at State level, including off-season Governorship elections on their own initiatives. This is most commendable.

“We have also been approached by a number of television stations in Nigeria
requesting for partnership in setting up facilities for live coverage of our activities from the INEC Headquarters in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.

“At least one international broadcast organisation has also recently approached us with a similar proposal.

“We welcome this development and for this reason, we are refurbishing our
media centre, including two editorial suites for the convenience of the media,” he said.

The INEC boss extended invitations to any international media that wish to cover the 2019 general elections, adding that commission would provide logistics.

He also assured that the elections would be different from all previous
elections in many respects:

He said the elections would involve the largest number of registered voters in history with over 80 million registered voters.

Yakubu said the election would unprecedentedly field the highest number of political parties.

“There are 68 political parties at present. However, with 138 applications from
associations seeking registration as political parties, the number is set to rise higher.

“The political parties will contest in elections into 1,558 National, State as well as Local Constituencies in the Federal Capital Territory.

” From the statistics of new voter registration nationwide, youths will play a far greater role in the election and processes thereof in 2019 than in previous elections.

“There is also increasing determination by marginalised groups such as women, youths and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) for greater participation than never before,” he said.

Yakubu said that INEC had been test running its plans in the off-season
elections it had conducted so far and the results had been positive.

“So far, we have conducted elections into 180 constituencies, the last one about three weeks ago (Ibarapa East State Constituency in Oyo State) and the next one in three weeks (Ekiti Governorship election scheduled for 14th July 2019).

“Each of the elections we have conducted so far is a remarkable improvement on the previous one.

“The improvements are in terms of preparations and outcome, ranging from the deployment of personnel, functionality of technology and the speedy collation, transmission and declaration of results.

“There is also a remarkable reduction in pre- and post-election litigation challenging the outcome of the elections.

“Most remarkably, elections are won and lost irrespective of incumbency at State level,” he said.

Yakubu assured the Congress that the will of the Nigerian voters will
continue to prevail and nothing but the votes cast by citizens would determine the outcome of elections. (NAN)

  – June 22, 2018 @ 18:11 GMT |

ECONEC President urges Appropriate, Cost-Effective Use of  Technology in Elections

PROF. Mahmood Yakubu, president of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, ECONEC, governing board has called for “appropriate and cost-effective” use of technology to boost public confidence in the electoral process and for the protection of the sanctity and integrity of the ballot.

In his welcome address to the opening of a three-day International Conference on Opportunities and Challenges in the use of technology in Elections” in Abuja on Monday, Prof. Yabubu, who is also Chair of Nigeria’s Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, noted that while “technology has come to stay and its benefits are immense,” its deployment “has numerous challenges.”

He explained that the Election Management Bodies, EMBs, from more than 30 countries participating at the conference had deployed technology in one form or another to improve on their electoral processes the outcomes had varied from one country to another.

However, “Given the deficit of infrastructure and expertise in many countries in our sub-regions and the regularity with which elections are conducted, concerns have been raised about the cost, choice and effectiveness of technology,” the ECONEC board president said.

The other concerns related to the use of technology in elections, he said, “are the twin issues of communication and security” of sensitive data, and the “rapidly increasing incidence of election meddling through the deployment of counter-technology on a global scale by State and non-State actors.”

In conclusion, Prof. Yakubu expressed optimism that the “Abuja Conference will be a turning point in our collective effort to deepen the deployment of technology for credible elections and stable democracies.”

Abuja International Conference on the Use of Technology in Elections 1
Abuja International Conference on the Use of Technology in Elections

Speaking in the same vein, Madam Notemba Tjipuena, Chair of the Electoral Commissions Forum, Southern African Development Community, ECF-SADC, and Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Namibia, said experience from her country, the first in Africa to use Electronic voting, has shown that cost-effectiveness and sustainability of credibility of elections should inform the introduction of technology.

She said initiatives such as the Abuja conference were essential towards strengthening collaboration among EMBs in Africa for the conduct of credible elections and consolidation of democracy.

Jean-Claude Brou, president of the ECOWAS Commission, represented by the Head of Electoral Assistance Division, Francis Gabriel Oke, outlined the electoral progress and challenges recorded in the region, adding that introduction of technology in elections should be approached with caution. This, he said, is to maximize the benefits and avoid the pitfalls.

Participants at the Conference, jointly organised by ECONEC, INEC and ECF-SADC, with support of the European Centre for Electoral Support, ECES, will share experiences on best electoral practices from Western and Southern Africa.

In her remarks, Monica Frassoni, President of ECES management board, noted that while the use of technology in elections has been characterised by benefits and scepticism, ECES would like to extend its collaboration with Western and Southern African EMBs beyond improvement in the use of technology in elections.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS Ketil Karlsen, urged participants to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by the conference to share ideas and experiences on quality control in the electoral process, adding that the right use of technology in elections is known to have added value while wrong use produced bad results.

In is keynote address, Wafula Chebukati, Chair of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission dwelt on the country’s recent electoral experience, especially the use of technology, stressing that “technology in election is as good as those behind it.”

– Apr. 9, 2018 @ 9: 08 GMT |

ECOWAS Observation Mission urges Peaceful Resolution of Contentious Issues Ahead of Sierra Leone’s March 7 Polls

PROF. Amos Sawyer, head of the ECOWAS’ 55-member Election Observation Mission has appealed to Sierra Leone’s political actors and stakeholders to cooperate and ensure that all outstanding political and legal issues are resolved peaceful so as not to jeopardise the smooth conduct of the country’s crucial March 7 presidential, parliamentary and local council polls.

“These elections should be seen in the wider and broader context of advancing peace and stability in Sierra Leone and the ECOWAS region,” the Head of Mission said in Freetown on Saturday 3rd March after a meeting with the leadership of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), part of his continuing engagement with stakeholders ahead of the elections.

The major pre-election issues, which outcome could impact the elections, are the dual citizenship case involving two of the 16 presidential candidates pending and the restriction of vehicular movement in the District headquarter Towns on Election Day. There are three cases before the Supreme Court for determination.

Political and legal experts have expressed concern that the success of the March 7 elections could depend on mature handling of the court cases, especially those on the presidential candidature. Under the Sierra Leone constitution, a political party whose candidate is disqualified has seven days to produce a replacement. Given that the elections are in a few days’ time, either going ahead with the polls or a postponement has a cost and credibility implications on the elections.

Consequently, Prof. Sawyer has continued to preach peace and the need for prompt resolution of the issues at meetings with the stakeholders, including the outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma, the Chief Justice and members of the Supreme Court Bench, as well as Sierra Leone Police leadership and the NEC.

“Sierra Leone has come a long way from its civil war and what is required is the collective efforts by the citizens, the government, security agencies, the judiciary, civil society and the media to take the country to the next level,” declared the former Interim President of Liberia.

This is against the background of the fact that electoral disputes have triggered many a political conflict in the region and the continent resulting in huge human and financial losses and untold humanitarian catastrophe.

At the meeting with Prof. Sawyer, the NEC Chairman Mohamed N’fah-Alie Conteh assured that “on the whole, given the level of preparations, the Commission is confident that the elections will go well.”

He thanked ECOWAS, the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, ECONEC, and development partners for supporting the electoral process. Before the deployment of observers, in line with its mandate to support member States holding elections, ECOWAS has also provided financial support after undertaking a pre-election fact-finding mission to Sierra Leone, and led a Joint ECOWAS/AU/UN High-Level Mission with the purpose of ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page for credible elections and peaceful transfer of political power in the country.

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, president of ECONEC governing board and chair of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, Nigeria also led a Needs Assessment Mission to Sierra Leone in 2017, which resulted in the pledge of logistical support by Nigeria, towards ensuring successful March 7 elections and the consolidation of peace and democracy in the country.

– Mar. 4, 2018 @ 9:45 GMT /

ECONEC salutes Liberia Elections Commission for Successful Poll

 

THE ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, ECONEC, the umbrella body of Electoral Management Bodies, EMBs, in West Africa has congratulated the National Elections Commission, NEC, Liberia,  for delivering successful and credible elections and paving way for the peaceful transfer of political power in the country.

The elections marked the first time since the end of Liberia’s civil war that Liberian authorities were wholly in charge of the electoral process, without the support of the UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, which has been maintaining peace in the country for the past 14 years.

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, President of ECONEC governing board and Chair of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Nigeria, said in Abuja, on Monday, January 22, that: “There are no easy elections, and for NEC Liberia, the October/December 2017 elections were a critical moment in the country’s political history.”

He noted that there were useful lessons for EMBs from the electoral success in Liberia and urged NEC Liberia and other stakeholders to consolidate the gains of the elections.

Senator George Weah, who emerged victorious in the polls, was inaugurated as Liberia’s 25th President in Monrovia on Monday.

Prof. Yakubu had led an ECONEC delegation on Needs Assessment and Solidarity Missions to Sierra Leone and Liberia in July 2017, in line with the mandate of the Network to assist members with capacity building, peer-review and experience sharing, towards delivering elections with integrity and strengthening of democracy in the region. He also led a delegation of ECONEC and INEC officials as part of international observation groups that observed the 10 October elections in Liberia.

Following the disputation over the register of voters in the aftermath of the first round elections, the ECONEC President facilitated the deployment of INEC personnel for the ECOWAS Technical Team that assisted NEC Liberia in cleaning up the voter’s Register. The Technical Team made crucial recommendations, the implementation of which enabled the conduct of the presidential run-off vote of 26 December 2017.

Prof Yakubu stressed that EMBs require the support and cooperation of all stakeholders to succeed, adding that the Network will continue to work with stakeholders to promote credible elections in the ECOWAS region. Accordingly, ECONEC will continue to encourage its members to share information and experiences on best practices, pool resources and build their capacities.

He also reiterated the commitment of the Network to its members in delivering on their mandate towards advancing democratic governance in the ECOWAS region.

 

 

– Jan. 22 2018 @ 18:31 GMT

 

 

85 million Nigerians may vote in 2019 – INEC

 

THE Independent National Electoral Commission says the number of registered voters may rise to 85 million ahead of the 2019 general election.

The revelation implies that INEC’s projection of 80 million has increased by five million.

The commission had  said last year that it was expecting 80 million Nigerians to be registered by 2019.

However, Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said at the 15th edition of the Daily Trust Dialogue in Abuja on Friday that 74 million persons had  registered as of last week.

Speaking at the event, “Nigeria and the challenges of 2019,” Yakubu, who was represented  by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Prince Solomon Soyebi, noted that there had been a lot of improvement in the electoral process since the current leadership of the commission came on board.

He said the commission was not unmindful of the enormous responsibility of conducting elections in the largest presidential democracy in Africa, and second only to that of the United States in terms registered voters.

The INEC Chairman disclosed that as of  last week, the commission had 74 million registered voters, hinting that by projection, the figure could hit between 80 and 85 million by 2019 due to the on-going nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise.

Responding to a concern raised by one of the speakers, Kate Henshaw, a Nollywood star and politician in her presentation about youth participation in the electoral process, the INEC Chairman said, “women, youth, People Living with Disabilities and Internally Displaced Persons had always been at the fulcrum of the commission’s plans.”

He promised that INEC would continue to engage with all stakeholders to ensure an all-inclusive process.

Professor Yakubu used the opportunity to stress the commission’s resolve to adhere strictly to the timelines provided in the recently released timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 General Elections.   –  Punch

 

–   Jan.  16, 2018 @ 17:36 GMT

INEC presents certificates to 21 newly registered political parties

 

THE Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday in Abuja presented certificates of registration to the 21 newly registered political parties.

The registration of the 21 new political parties was approved by the commission on Dec. 14, 2017, bringing the number of registered parties in the country to 68.

The political parties are All Blending Party, All Grassroots Alliance, Alliance for New Nigeria, Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party, Coalition for Change and Freedom and Justice Party.

Also registered are Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria, Justice Must Prevail Party, Legacy Party of Nigeria, Mass Action Joint Alliance, Modern Democratic Party, National Interest Party, National Rescue Mission and New Progressive Mission.

New Progressive Movement, Nigeria Democratic Congress Party, People’s Alliance for National Development and Liberty, People’s Trust and Providence People’s Congress were also registered.

Also on the list are Re-Build Nigeria Party, Restoration Party of Nigeria and Sustainable National Party.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said at the certificates presentation ceremony new parties said that compliance with the judgment of the Federal High Court, the Commission had also registered the Socialist Party of Nigeria.

“We have already issued the Certificate of Registration to the SPN.

“The number of new political parties has risen to 22 in addition to the 46 parties already in existence. This means that the total number of political parties in Nigeria today stands at 68,’’ he said.

Yakubu advised the new parties to operate within the law at all times, as well add value to our democracy by adhering to the tenets of democratic norms anchored on the rule of law. –  NAN

 

– Jan. 10, 2018 @ 18:20 GMT

 

INEC fixes February 16 for 2019 Presidential Election

 

THE Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has issued the time table and schedule of activities for the 2019 General Elections, fixing the conduct of party primaries including the resolution of disputes arising from primaries for August 18, 2018 to October 7, 2018 for national and state elections while that of the FCT Area Council is slated for between September 4 and October 27, 2018.

Speaking with journalists Tuesday in Abuja, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said the commission arrived at the schedule of activities after its meeting held on the same day. INEC equally said it would go ahead with its earlier plan to conduct the Anambra Central election on January 13.

“We are going by the orders of the Court of Appeal that INEC should conduct a fresh election withing 90 days and the position of the court has not changed. So, there will be elections in Anambra Central on January 13, 2018”, Yakubu stated.

According to him, the Publication of Notice of Election for National and State Elections would be on August 17, 2018 while that of the FCT Area Council Elections would be done on September 3, 2018. Collection of nomination forms by political parties for national and state elections begins from August 11 to 24 while that of the FCT Area Council elections would be between November 3 and 10, 2018.

Commencement of campaign by political parties would be November 18 for. Presidential and National Assembly Elections; December 1 for Governorship and State Assembly elections and December 2 for the FCT Area Council elections.

The last day for the submission of nomination forms to INEC is December 3, 2018 for Presidential and National Assembly Elections; December 17 for Governorship and State Assembly and December 14, 2018 for the FCT Area Council Elections.

INEC equally fixed the last day for campaigns for February 14, 2019 for Presidential and National Assembly Elections as well as February 28, 2018 for Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council Elections.

“Today, it is exactly 402 days to the opening of polling units nationwide at 8am on Saturday 16th February 2019. As political parties and candidates canvass the support of the electorate, the Commission wishes to appeal to all and sundry to eschew bitterness and conduct their activities with decorum.

The 2015 General Election was a watershed in the history of our democracy. The Commission is determined to build on this legacy by ensuring that our elections keep getting better”, Yakubu pledged.

INEC had on March 9, 2017, announced the dates for the 2019 General Elections. “In a clear departure from past practice when dates were announced close to elections, the Commission decided that henceforth our Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on the 3rd Saturday Of the month of February of each election year, while Governorship and State Assembly elections will hold two weeks later.

When the end of tenure of the FCT Area Councils coincide with the general election, the FCT Council electionS are to be combined with the Governorship and State Assembly elections.

By these decisions, the Commission fixed Saturday 16th February 2019 as the date for Presidential and National Assembly elections while Govemorship and State Assembly elections will hold on Saturday 2nd March 2019.

Since the end of tenure of FCT Chairmen and Councillors will end in 2019, the Area Council elections will also hold on Saturday 2nld March 2019.

Consequently, while other Nigerians elect their Governors and Members of State Assemblies, citizens in the FCT will elect Chairmen and Councillors for the Area Councils”, the INEC boss recalled.

According to him, the decision of the Commission to fix election dates is to engender certainty in the nation’s electoral calendar and to enable all stakeholders to prepare adequately for elections, as is the case in many mature and developing democracies.

“Already, the Commission has concluded its Strategic Plan and the Strategic Plan of Action for the current electoral cycle and beyond covering the period 2017-2021 as well as Election Project Plan.

The Commission is moving away from the culture of quick fix, tire brigade approach to the management of elections in Nigeria. As our democracy matures, the planning and implementation of electoral activities should be predictable and systematic.

This is all the more pertinent given the size and population of the country, the terrain, logistical requirements, the increasing number of political parties, security challenges and number of constituencies for which elections are to be held.

For instance, in 2019 the Commission will conduct elections for 1,558 Constituencies made up of one Presidential Constituency, 29 Govemorship constituencies out of 36 (7 Govemorship elections are staggered and conducted off-cycle), 109 Senatorial Districts, 360 Federal Constituencies, 991 State Assembly Constituencies, 6 Area Council Chairmen as well as 62 Councillorship positions for the FCT”, Yakubu added.

He said INEC will today also issue certificates of registration to 21 new political parties who were registered last month.

 

– Jan. 9, 2018 @ 18:56 GMT

ECONEC moves to Reduce Cost of Elections in West Africa

 

THE ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, ECONEC, is taking steps to encourage reduction of the cost of elections, and professional reporting of electoral processes through regional media training to improve the coverage of elections with integrity in the region.

“Elections are not only very expensive to run, but have also become a source of avoidable political conflicts in our region, so ECONEC is taking steps to address these challenges in a proactive manner,” said Prof Mahmood Yakubu, president of ECONEC governing board and chair of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Nigeria.

He spoke while presiding over a meeting of ECONEC secretariat staff in Abuja on 13th December 2017, which was also attended by other senior INEC officials.

The ECONEC strategy, discussed during the meeting, includes a planned launch of a Study on the Cost of Elections in West Africa. The findings would be used to sensitise and mobilise stakeholders on the need to scale down the spiralling cost of election administration; encourage pooling of resources by Election Management Bodies, EMBs, and strengthening transparency and prudent use of available resources.

ECONEC also plans a series of regional training workshops for the media to build a critical mass of journalists equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills for reporting elections according to internationally accepted standards. This is with a view to establishing guidelines for reporting elections to maximize the contributions of the media to democracy; eliminating hate speech and violence-inciting reporting, which are major triggers of conflict in the region.

The Abuja meeting also reviewed ECONEC’s activities in the out-going year, which included the establishment of the Network’s permanent Secretariat in Nigeria, with the support of INEC, and Needs Assessment and Solidarity missions to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, among others.

The ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Liberia for the country’s first round presidential and legislative elections on 10th October included officials from the ECONEC secretariat, while Prof. Yakubu led the INEC observation team to that country. The presidential run-off is now scheduled for 26 December.

In the coming year, ECONEC plans more Needs Assessment and Solidarity missions to other member countries planning elections, and follow-up missions for the implementation of ECOWAS Election Observation missions’ reports/recommendations.

These activities are consistent with ECONEC’s mandate of providing support and advocacy for its members, promotion of credible elections and good governance, and the encouragement of gradual harmonisation of electoral laws and best practices through experience-sharing, and peer-learning of good practices in electoral matters in the region.

 

– Dec.  15, 2017 @ 08:43 GMT

 

ECOWAS Observer Mission commends Liberians for Peaceful October 10 Vote

 

JOHN Mahama, head of the ECOWAS 71-member Election Observation Mission to Liberia,  has commended Liberians for seizing the opportunity of the October 10, crucial elections to “exercise their sovereign right to decide who leads them.”

“This Mission believes thus far, that with the environment in the lead up to the elections, voting day activities, sorting and counting of the ballots, Liberia is on track to achieve a credible poll,” Mahama, Ghana’s immediate-past President said in Monrovia on Wednesday while reading the Mission’s Preliminary Declaration on Tuesday’s presidential and legislative elections.

By Thursday, results of the polls were being expected from across Liberia’s 15 administrative Counties, where some 2.18 million registered voters cast their ballots in a generally peaceful environment.

The ECOWAS Mission urged Liberia’s National Elections Commission, NEC, “to approach the concluding phases of the process with fairness and transparency until the proclamation of the results.”

It also called “on the political leaders, the candidates, their followers and the media to maintain the same posture of restraint, serenity and patriotism until the collation and announcement of the results.”

“The ECOWAS Observation Mission urges NEC to expedite action on the proclamation of the provisional results to prevent further anxiety with the polity,” Mahama urged.

“In light of the few challenges identified by the ECOWAS Observers in the field,” the Mission made seven recommendations, including the need for relevant and early training of electoral officials, and provision of adequate financial resources to NEC in a timely manner to facilitate its operations.

The ECOWAS Mission also recommended timely voter verification exercise to be conducted by NEC in accordance with the law, to enhance voter identification; improvement in the Final Registration Roll, FRR, by arranging names in alphabetical order and ensuring that photos match serial numbers of voters.

There should also improvement in the provision for vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, nursing mothers, persons with disability and the aged, by giving them priority to cast their votes, the Declaration said.

The Mission “noted with concern the isolated cases of violence during the electoral process in some parts of the country,” and commended the security forces, especially the Liberia National Police for arresting the situation.

It specifically congratulated the NEC leadership and officials for the “professionalism demonstrated throughout the electoral process,” and also lauded the UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, for its support to NEC, particularly with the airlift of electoral material to Counties that are inaccessible by road.

The Mission equally “congratulated the candidates, their parties, supporters and the electorate for their maturity during the campaign and the voting process.”

It appealed to all candidates to put Liberia first by maintaining peace, and “to gracefully accept the will of the people and in the event of genuine grievances to resort exclusively to legal means to seek redress.”

Among dignitaries at the event, were the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Liberia Farid Sarif, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Office in West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Head of the African Union Observation Mission to Liberia Erastus Mwencha, and Prof. Mahmood Yakubu President of the governing board of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, ECONEC, and chair of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

There were also representatives of other International Observer Groups, including the European Union (EU), Carter Center, Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA, U.S. National Democratic Institute, NDI, International Foundation for Electoral Systems, IFES, Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, EISA, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, WANEP, Mano River Union, MRU, and the Women’s Situation Room, working for peace and non-violent elections in Africa.

Twenty candidates – 17 sponsored by political parties including the only female, and three independent flag bearers, are seeking to replace out-going Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, while more than 980 candidates are contesting for the 73 parliamentary seats at stake through the October 10 elections.

Liberia has an estimated population of 4.5 million with 2.18 million registered voters and the elections were held in 2,080 Polling Precincts (Centres) with 5,390 Polling Places (Stations) nationwide.

– Oct 12, 2017 @ 14:17  GMT /

 

 

 

 

INEC Accuses Political Parties of Violating Electoral Law

 

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has slammed the leadership of political parties in the country for violating some key aspects of the Electoral Act.

Speaking at a quarterly consultative meeting with political parties Wednesday, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, warned the parties and members against embarking on campaigns outside the stipulated time frame.

He told the party leaders that INEC is yet to issue timetable for the commencement of electioneering and as such, they should help caution their members not to jump the gun.

While assuring them of the commission’s willingness to register more parties, Yakubu berated some of the existing ones who he said have committed several infractions to the electoral law.

Commenting on the failure of many parties to submit the 2015 general election expenses to the commission, he said: “Parties are expected to submit to the commission their election campaign expenses for the 2015 general election but as we speak only five political parties are in compliance.

“While 24 other political parties did not comply, the case of 17 parties is understandable because they are registered after the general elections. But for parties that contested the general elections, only five complied,” he lamented.

Speaking further, Yakubu said: “We have written to the political parties urging them to inform the commission if there are issues. But parties as entities must comply with the constitution and the Electoral Act, which are actually the basis for their registration and existence.

“As I speak with you, the commission has over 108 political associations seeking fresh registration. We want to assure all the associations that the commission will register those that met the legal requirements. They should not take that for granted on the commission.

“But for those that have already been registered, I want to draw your attention to certain issues. The constitution is very clear on the processes and conditions for registration that must be complied. Section 223 of the constitution talks about the validity of the composition of the political parties NEC.
“Unfortunately, out of the 46 registered political parties, only 28 parties are in compliance. 18 political parties have not complied.

“Section 222 of the constitution requires political parties to establish offices in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) but as we speak today, only 29 political parties are in compliance while 17 political parties have not. So 17 political parties have no offices in FCT or their rents have expired which amounts to the same thing of not having office in FCT,” he said.

Just like he stated yesterday, Yakubu charged all the political parties that although INEC has fixed a date for the general election, it was yet to release the time table for the election, adding that they should try to abide by the law.
“The law is very clear on when campaigns will commence. It remains 90 days to the election and must stop 24 hours to the actual casting of ballot.

“However, we have noticed that some people using the name of some political parties are already in campaign mood. Since there is no provision for any Nigerian to contest election as an independent candidate for now and since every candidate must be sponsored by a political party, we expect everybody to comply with electoral rules.
“It is true that no political party has openly declared campaign for 2019 general election but the parties owe it a duty to obey the laws of the land. INEC is yet to issue timetable for the commencement of campaign and we expect all political parties to comply,” he warned.”

Meanwhile, INEC yesterday issued the timetable and schedule of activities for the bye election in Kware/Wamakko federal constituency in Sokoto State.

According to the timetable, political parties are required to conclude their primary election on or before October 14, 2017. The date of the by-elections is scheduled for October 28, 2017.

The commission asked parties to submit the names of party agents to electoral officers on October 20.
It further stated that submission of nomination forms at the headquarters would end on October 17, adding that election notice would be placed in the constituency on October 6, while campaign was scheduled to end on October 26, 2017.      –   THISDAY

– Oct. 5, 2017 @ 15:43 GMT |

 

 

President Johnson-Sirleaf Reassures ECONEC, ECOWAS Delegations on Liberia’s October Vote

LIBERIA’S President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has reassured visiting delegations of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, ECONEC, and the ECOWAS Commission of her government’s unwavering commitment to delivering credible and peaceful elections in the country next October to end her two-term tenure.

“For us, this election is Liberia’s defining moment,” she told both delegations at the Executive Mansion, Monrovia, on Wednesday, July 19.  “It is an important test of our move to political maturity and we are hopeful of a successful and peaceful transition.”

Pres Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf with ECONEC & ECOWAS Joint Delegation at Executive Mansion, Monrovia 19 July 2017
Pres Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf with ECONEC & ECOWAS Joint Delegation at Executive Mansion, Monrovia 19 July 2017

President Johnson-Sirleaf, the immediate past chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, promised that the government would resolve all outstanding issues related to the elections for the country’s parliamentarians and president, such as the passage of the national budget and prompt release of funds to facilitate the electoral process.

She solicited ECOWAS’ continued solidarity and assistance from development partners in support for the consolidation of democracy and good governance in the country, which has witnessed a devastating decade of civil war and the Ebola virus epidemic of 2014.

On behalf of the delegations, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, president of the ECONEC governing board and chair of Nigeria’s Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, congratulated the Liberian leader; Africa’s first elected female President, her government and the people of Liberia for their commitment to shaking off the effects of a dark past and marching forward with great determination.

He outlined the concerns raised by some stakeholders around preparations for the October elections and reiterated ECONEC’s pledge to assist in whatever way it could and to also advocate for assistance on behalf of the stakeholders to facilitate the electoral process.

Prof Yakubu mentioned ECONEC’s fruitful engagements with the National Electoral Commission, NEC, of Liberia, the Judiciary, the Inspector-General of Police Gregory Coleman, the leadership of the two-chamber parliament, the Chief Justice and other Justices of the Supreme Court. Others were Liberia’s former Interim President Prof Amos Sawyer, who now chairs the national Governance Commission, the United Nations Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, foreign envoys and representatives of donor agencies and the West African Network for Peacebuilding, WANEP.

In his introductory remarks, Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo, ECOWAS Special Representative in Liberia, had reiterated to the Liberian President, ECOWAS’ continued support to the country, recalling the leading role played by the regional organisation in ending Liberia’s civil war.

ECONEC board President Prof Yakubu with Liberia IGP Gregory Coleman
ECONEC board President Prof Yakubu with Liberia IGP Gregory Coleman

The ECOWAS delegation, which is on a fact-finding mission ahead of Liberia’s October vote included Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, former Chair of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, Halima Ahmed, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security,   Remi Ajibewa, director of Political Affairs, and Francis Oke, head of the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division.

The ECONEC team, which included the chairpersons of Burkina Faso Electoral Commission,  Ahmed Barry and Maria do Rosaria Goncalves of Cabo Verde, INEC Commissioner Prof Antonia Simbine and staff of the ECONEC Secretariat, flew into Liberia on Sunday after a Needs Assessment and Solidarity mission to Sierra Leone, which is holding its own crucial elections in March 2018.

The missions are consistent with the Network’s objectives of solidarity and mutual assistance, experience sharing, and peer-review, for the promotion of credible and peaceful elections, harmonisation of electoral best practices and the consolidation of democracy and good governance in the ECOWAS region.

—  Jul 20, 2017 @ 15:35 GMT

ECONEC Lauded for Supporting Consolidation of Democracy in Sierra Leone

THE ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, ECONEC, governing board’s delegation has concluded its Needs Assessment and Solidarity mission to Sierra Leone with a pat on the back from the country’s authorities, non-state actors and donor agencies, for boosting confidence in and supporting efforts to make the March 2018 elections in the country credible and peaceful.

In their assessments, the stakeholders praised ECONEC for its solidarity with Sierra Leone, the interest and genuine efforts to support democracy in the country.

“Your visit sends a strong message and has boosted confidence that the elections would be held,” declared Commissioner Mohamed Conteh, chair of Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission (NEC) at the debriefing session between the ECONEC team and officials of the Commission in Freetown on Friday, 14th July 2017.

During its five-day stay, the mission led by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the ECONEC board President and chair of Nigeria’s Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, held consultations with various stakeholders – official establishments including the National Electoral Commission, NEC, political parties and the Political Party Registration Commission, PPRC, Sierra Leone’s Chief Justice, the Attorney-General and Justice Minister, Internal Affairs Minister, the Inspector General of Police, IG, and the National Security Coordinator.

Others were representatives Civil Society Organisations, CSOs,  the Independent Media Commission, IMC, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, SLAJ, and the UN Development Programme, UNDP, which coordinates donor agencies in support of the electoral process.

Echoing the general sentiment of appreciation, Sierra Leone’s Internal Affairs Minister Palo Conteh, had in a meeting with the ECONEC team earlier in the day praised the Network for the solidarity and support.

He said this was consistent with the sacrifice by ECOWAS and member States for the peace being enjoyed in Sierra Leone after the nation’s devastating civil war.

In his remarks, Prof Yakubu, commended all the stakeholders for their cooperation and willingness to share their concerns and listen to ECONEC’s suggestions on the way forward.

He thanked the authorities for their commitment to address issues which could impact the electoral process, such as the boundary delimitation and electoral bills, electoral security and setting up electoral courts, funding gaps, logistics, capacity building and voter cards procurement and distribution.

While reiterating his now poplar message that “it is better to deploy ECONEC to conduct credible and peace elections, rather than deploy ECOMOG (regional peacekeeping force after flawed elections),” Prof Yakubu promised that the Network would advocate for support on behalf of the stakeholders to ensure a successful electoral process in Sierra Leone.

ECONEC members and the donor community would also be approached to support the electoral process, he added.

The mission, supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA, INEC and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, EISA, proceeds from Freetown to Liberia on Sunday on a similar Solidarity visit.  Liberia is holding its own elections next October.

The delegation includes heads of Electoral Commissions of Burkina Faso and Cabo Verde, an EISA Representative and ECONEC secretariat staff.

The ECOWAS Commission set up ECONEC in 2008 to promote credible elections in member States and also encourage gradual harmonisation of electoral laws and best practices through experience-sharing and peer-learning of good practices in electoral matters.

– July 15, 2017 @ 5:18 GMT /