By Our Correspondent
The ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), the umbrella body of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) in West Africa has congratulated the National Elections Commission (NEC) Liberia for delivering successful and credible elections and paving way for the peaceful transfer of political power in the country.
The elections marked the first time since the end of Liberia’s civil war that Liberian authorities were wholly in charge of the electoral process, without the support of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), which has been maintaining peace in the country for the past 14 years.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, President of ECONEC governing board and Chair of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Nigeria, said in Abuja on Monday, 22nd January 2018 that: “There are no easy elections, and for NEC Liberia, the October/December 2017 elections were a critical moment in the country’s political history.”
He noted that there were useful lessons for EMBs from the electoral success in Liberia and urged NEC Liberia and other stakeholders to consolidate the gains of the elections.
Senator George Weah, who emerged victorious in the polls, was inaugurated as Liberia’s 25th President in Monrovia on Monday.
Prof. Yakubu had led an ECONEC delegation on Needs Assessment and Solidarity Missions to Sierra Leone and Liberia in July 2017, in line with the mandate of the Network to assist members with capacity building, peer-review and experience sharing, towards delivering elections with integrity and strengthening of democracy in the region. He also led a delegation of ECONEC and INEC officials as part of international observation groups that observed the 10 October elections in Liberia.
Following the disputation over the register of voters in the aftermath of the first round elections, the ECONEC President facilitated the deployment of INEC personnel for the ECOWAS Technical Team that assisted NEC Liberia in cleaning up the voter’s Register. The Technical Team made crucial recommendations, the implementation of which enabled the conduct of the presidential run-off vote of 26 December 2017.
Prof Yakubu stressed that EMBs require the support and cooperation of all stakeholders to succeed, adding that the Network will continue to work with stakeholders to promote credible elections in the ECOWAS region. Accordingly, ECONEC will continue to encourage its members to share information and experiences on best practices, pool resources and build their capacities.
He also reiterated the commitment of the Network to its members in delivering on their mandate towards advancing democratic governance in the ECOWAS region.