The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has called for strong collaboration with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to improve Nigeria’s electoral process.
Prof. Yakubu made the call when he declared open a one-day INEC-CSOs Zonal Dialogue on the 2019 General Elections (Southern Edition) held in Enugu on Monday.
Represented at the occasion by a national commissioner at INEC, Barr. Festus Okoye, Yakubu said that as the 2019 general Elections comes close it would be expected that the engagement between CSOs and the Commission would be more regular.
“This they have done through their observation reports, advocacy for a better legal framework, mobilization of citizens to participate and cast their votes in an informed manner and the issues they regard as appropriate and good in shaping and defining policies.”
“Your ideas and suggestion have also contributed immensely in drawing up the Commission’s guidelines, manuals and regulations.”
“This meeting is not just to share ideas but to share knowledge and experiences from the people committed to the sustenance of democracy.”
It is a fact that elections are funded and conducted with public funds, therefore the activities of election management bodies are to be subjected to public scrutiny, according to the INEC Chairman.
He appealed to the CSOs to use the avenue of the dialogue to interrogate and proffer solutions on a wide number of issues concerning the proper conduct of elections.
Yakubu said: “Such issues as vote buying, internal party democracy, and more especially gender inclusiveness and Persons With Disabilities (PWD) representation which have consistently remained low in spite of the efforts of the Commission and other stakeholders.”
Also speaking, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Enugu State, Mr Emeka Ononamadu, thanked ECES for supporting INEC in its quest to better the electoral process and deliver on its mandate.
According to Ononamadu, “INEC will continue to work with the CSOs and ECES to bring practical solution on emerging challenges.
“INEC is poised in organizing a free, fair and credible elections to make for a better society.”
Earlier, the Project Co-ordinator of ECES, Mr Rudolf Elbling, said that it was gratifying that INEC remained committed towards strengthening its partnership with CSOs across the country at the various stages of the electoral process.