Why Nigeria emerged ECOWAS Election Commission President
The hope that Nigeria’s recession is paving the ways for stabilityin the Nigerian polity was a consideration in emergence of Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) as the elected President of the new five-member Board of the 15-nation ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, ECONEC, for the next two years.
In a poll held during ECONEC’s 5th biennial General Assembly meeting in Cotonou, the economic capital Benin Republic on March 29, the chairman of Benin Republic’s Electoral Commission Emmanuel Tiando also emerged 1st Vice President.
His Guinea-Bissau counterpart, Jose Pedro Sambu, was elected 2nd Vice President, while Newton Barry of Burkina Faso clinched the position of ECONEC Treasurer, with his counterpart from Cabo Verde Maria do Rosario Goncalves elected deputy Treasurer.
The new board takes over from the outgoing chairman,. Siaka Sangare Mali.
In his post-election speech, Yakubu thanked his colleagues for their support and pledged his and INEC’s commitment to reposition ECONEC, in the ECOWAS spirit of solidarity and cooperation among the Network member States.
In accordance with its constitutive statute, ECONEC’s headquarters is hosted by the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division, EAD, within the Department of Political Affairs Peace and Security in Abuja, with Francis Oke, head of EAD as the its executive secretary.
The Network was set up in 2008 to foster cooperation and experience sharing among member States and to support ECOWAS in the realisation of its mandate of regional integration and the promotion of electoral processes with integrity for the deepening of democracy in the region.
In handing over the mantle of leadership, Gen. Sangare, who had headed ECONEC in an acting capacity, thanked ECOWAS and development partners, especially the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) for their invaluable support.
He underlined financial constraint as the Network’s major challenge and called for measures to address the problem and make the institution effective and efficient, and its activities sustainable.