Abuja, 5th August 2019. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) through the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) organised a one-day symposium on the promotion of inclusivity in the electoral process in the Region.
The symposium, which took place on the 5th of August 2019, precedes the Sixth ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions Biennial General Assembly, which will hold on the 6th of August 2019, all in Abuja, Nigeria.
Apart from promoting inclusivity in the electoral process, the symposium provided a platform for the discussion of the legal framework and practical steps for enhancing the participation of women, youth, Persons with Disability (PWDs) and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, whose speech was read by Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said that despite the progress made so far in the electoral process in the region more needs to be done by Governments through legislation and by political parties through affirmative action in the nomination of candidates for election.
President Buhari stressed that stakeholders also need to advocate for greater inclusion of all segments of the society in the democratic and electoral processes.
While decrying the rising cost of conducting elections in the Region, H.E. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, whose speech Dr. Remi Ajibewa, Director of Political Affairs, ECOWAS Commission read, pledged ECOWAS continued partnership and collaboration with ECONEC to ensure that elections and electoral processes in Member States continue to improve.
In her keynote address, Madam Finda E.M. Koroma, the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, stressed the importance of the symposium as a platform to reflect on the growing calls for the greater participation and representation of women, youth, PWDs and IDPs in politics and electoral processes.
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria and the Chair of the ECONEC said that a critical issue for the future of ECONEC is funding.
He noted that while the support of ECOWAS and the development partners is appreciated there was need to for ECONEC members to fulfil their financial obligation towards the organisation.