Buhari assures of Nigeria’s continued electoral assistance to W/A countries

President Buhari

By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured of Nigeria’s continued bilateral electoral assistance to countries in the West African sub-region based on needs.
This is even as Buhari harped on the need for persons living with disabilities and those internally displaced for a variety of reasons, to be integrated into the electoral process in Nigeria in particular and other countries in the sub-region in general.
The President gave the assurance while formally declaring open the symposium/biennial General Assembly of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) in Abuja.
Buhari pointedly declared that credible elections in the sub-region is not only good for democracy and periodic elections, but it is also good for overall sub-regional stability.
Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, pointed out that Nigeria cannot allow the failure of the political process to “destabilize our countries to the extent that regional military intervention becomes inevitable as is unfortunately still the case in the sub-region”.
The President equally harped on the need to continue to ensure that not only the youth but other categories of citizens, such as persons living with disabilities and those internally displaced for a variety of reasons, are integrated into the electoral process in Nigeria in particular and other countries in our sub-region in general.
Buhari reasoned that such will continue to support democratic consolidation in the sub-region.
According to him, one way of doing so is for the Election Management Bodies (EMBs) to take the lead through peer support.
The President stayed further that Nigeria, within the limits of available resources, has responded by providing material and technical support to ECONET.
In the words of Buhari, “We should continue to ensure that not only the youth but other categories of citizens such as persons living with disabilities and those internally displaced for a variety of reasons are integrated into the electoral process in Nigeria in particular and other countries in our sub-region in general.
“In doing so, we will continue to support democratic consolidation in the sub-region.
“One way of doing so is for the Election Management Bodies (EMBs) to take the lead through peer support. I have followed with keen interest, the efforts of ECONEC in this regard.
“In the last two years, ECONEC, under the leadership of the Nigerian Electoral Body Chairman, has been a strong advocate for Nigeria’s bilateral electoral assistance to countries in the sub-region based on need.
“Within the limits of available resources, Nigeria has responded by providing material and technical support to ECONET.
“The more recent examples include logistics support to Sierra Leone, deployment of experts from INEC on the request of ECOWAS and the United Nations to assist in cleaning up the voters’ register in Liberia ahead of the Presidential run-off election in 2017 and the provision of voter registration equipment to Guinea Bissau which facilitated the conduct of parliamentary election in March this year.
“I want to assure you of Nigeria’s continued assistance because credible election in our sub-region is not only good for democracy and periodic elections, it is also good for overall sub-regional stability.
“We cannot allow the failure of the political process to destabilize our countries to the extent that regional military intervention becomes inevitable as is unfortunately still the case in the sub-region.
“With the successful conduct of parliamentary elections in Guinea Bissau in March this year, the next big step is the Presidential election. I urge ECONEC to continue to work with ECOWAS by engaging with all stakeholders in the country for a successful Presidential election scheduled for 24th November, 2019 that will restore stability and eventually facilitate the withdrawal of troops”, he said.
The President expressed Nigeria’s appreciation to the development partners for their support to electoral and democratic processes in the sub-region.
He similarly expressed appreciation to the United Nations through the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, His Excellency Mohammed Ibn Chambas, who has been such a pillar of support to peace, security and good governance in our sub-region, at the diplomatic level.

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