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INEC: Retreats to sustain improved elections – Yakubu

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has expressed optimisms that the series of retreats of the commission was to consolidate and sustain improved elections.

He said this in Lagos on Thursday at a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECS) from the 36 states and FCT to discuss on wider scale of the preparations, plans, policies and programmes of the 2019 General Elections and make implementable recommendations on ways to improve the process.

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Yakubu said the meeting would galvanize the field experience of these officials of the commission and provides solution that could serve as roadmap to future elections.

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The retreat which is the 12th in the series of consultative review meetings with critical election stakeholders since the conclusion of the last general election was organized by the commission with support from European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).

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Yakubu said the commission was convinced that experiences from previous elections are always vital for effective planning and execution of subsequent elections.

“At the end of these series of meetings and consultations, we are convinced that the Commission will learn vital lessons on the conduct of the General Elections, successes, challenges and the way forward.

“We consider that necessary because as Commission, we are committed to improvement of the electoral process in which performance evaluation of the commission’s officers and other stakeholders are actually very, very critical.

“We are convinced that immediately after the conclusion of one General Election, planning for the next election should begin in earnest; this is exactly what we are doing in these series of engagements,” he said.

In her remarks, the President of ECES, Ms. Monica Frassoni, restated commitment to supporting INEC at promoting an inclusive electoral process that recognizes importance of consultative stakeholder involvement at all levels.

She commended the commission for carrying on board all stakeholders for the progress and development of democratic elections.

Also speaking, the acting Country Director of IFES, Seray Jah, urged the commission to be more data-based with statistics of voters’ demographics for scientific planning.

He noted that even as there was no perfect elections anywhere in the world but, a more scientific approach to planning would significantly reduce some of the challenges faced by election management bodies.

In his welcome remark, the Lagos State REC, Sam Olumekun, noted that the report of the 2019 General Elections would not be complete until the review of the commission’s general performance was considered.

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