After two days of deliberations in Abuja, regional election experts have validated the outcome of the study on the Cost of Elections in West Africa, commissioned by the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), with concrete recommendations to make elections more cost-effective, yet credible and democracy, sustainable in the region.
In his remarks at the end of the validation workshop on Tuesday, 16th October, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, President of the ECONEC governing board and Chair of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria, thanked the three consultants and the participants, including representatives of election management bodies in the region for the quality of their contributions.
The next step, he said, is to ensure the publication and launch of the findings, assuring that the recommendations by the experts would be incorporated, for a rounded product to serve as a guide in tackling spiralling electoral expenses in the region.
The ECONEC president urged the participants to leverage the partnerships cultivated during the workshop, and reiterated his assertion that “a well-conducted election is a recipe for peace, while a badly organised election could result in chaos,” noting that funding could play a critical part in the outcome of an election.
Prof Yakubu thanked the ECOWAS Commission and development partners for their support, notably the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), which funded the six-nation study, the German Agency for International Development, GIZ, which sponsored the validation workshop, and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) for its technical assistance.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Mr Abu Turay, of Sierra Leone’s Electoral Commission, expressed the hope that the findings of the study and recommendations by the experts would be implemented to support the conduct of credible and cost-effective elections in the ECOWAS region.
The study was carried out in Nigeria, Liberia, Benin Republic, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Cabo Verde, representing the three ECOWAS language zones (Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone).
It is part of ECONEC’s 2016-2018 work plan, consistent with its mandate to support its members through research, experience and information sharing, peer collaboration and the ultimate harmonisation of electoral processes in the region based on best practices in the conduct of credible elections and consolidation of democracy and good governance.
Under the same work plan, ECONEC plans a regional media workshop in Abuja for 29-30 October on the professional reporting of elections.