â€¢ ECOWAS countries plan reduction in cost of elections
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will today swear-in the 14 Resident Electoral CommissionersÂ (RECs) earlier screened and cleared by the Senate.
With their assumption of duty, the number of RECs appointed to supervise elections in the 36 states of the federation has risen to 17 with the two of the RECs tenure expiring in the next two weeks.
While briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja on the outcome of the meeting of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONET), the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the meeting of the leadership of electoral boding of the ECOWAS sub-region resolved to find ways to reduce the cost of elections in the sub-region and to explore ways of offering more assistance to each other.
Yakubu said he and the chairmen of electoral commissions of Burkina Faso and Cape Verde would be visit Liberia as part of preparations for that countryâ€™s presidential election coming up later this year.
For instance, he said members of ECONET agreed to offer technical assistance to each other in the areas of deployment of electronic devices for voter registration and authentication of voters during elections.
He also said member counties agreed to work towards deepening the application of technology in the conduct of future elections.
In addition, Yakubu said the meeting also resolved that they would visit the two members conducting elections this year, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
According to the INEC boss, the visit is to explore ways of assisting the countries to conduct a successful election.
Yakubu who is to lead the ECONET delegation to Liberia, said the meeting reasoned that it would be better to assist countries in conducting peaceful electionÂ than to take the trouble of mobilisingÂ troops to go and quell crisis arising from the badly conducted election.
During the visit, the ECONET would be interface with all the stakeholders in the Liberiaâ€™s electoral process, including the Judiciaryâ€™ media, electoral commission and political leaders.
Yakubu further said the regional electoral commission coalition has decided to make Nigeria permanent host to ECONET headquarters and that an office has been provided in one of the INECâ€™s facilities in Abuja for them.
So far, all the 15 countries of the ECOWAS are members of the ECONET.