By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja – The President of ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said the Network was working on measures to help reduce cost of elections in the West Africa sub region.
Yakubu, who is also the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), disclosed this while addressing journalists after ECONEC Steering Committee meeting in Abuja.
He said the network would achieve the task by encouraging members of ECONEC to adopt electronic and the deployment of technology in the conduct of elections.
“We are interested in finding ways by which we can reduce cost of elections in the sub-region. Democracy is good but the cost of running elections is also very high.
“One of the ways is first, to explore the possibility of helping one another and we have been doing so.
”Areas of assistance include information and communication technology in the conduct of elections.
“This is to ensure that more and more member countries have electronic voter register and then the deployment of technology in the conduct of elections.
“This will considerably reduce the cost of conducting elections manually,’’ he said.
The ECONEC President listed other challenges confronting the conduct of election in the sub-region to include; huge logistics, infrastructure and different legs of elections.
He said that the Network would continue to work together to address challenges of conducting elections in the West Africa sub-region.
Yakubu who said some members of the 15 West African countries were already adopting e-voting, urged other countries to embrace the modern technology.
He said the meeting resolved to deploy ECONEC delegations, to be led by him, to the Republics of Liberia and Sierra Leone holding their presidential elections in October 2017 and March 2018.
“After that, we shall also be visiting Republic of Guinea Bissau that will be holding its parliamentary elections in March 2018.
“The purpose is to determine their needs ahead of the elections and how the rest countries in the region can come together and help the electoral commissions in the two countries for credible elections.’’
He also that the steering committee also at its meeting adopted ECONEC 2017-2018 work plan and statute of the network.
On the modality for funding ECONEC operation, especially its office in Abuja, Yakubu said that the financial responsibility would be shared by all member countries.
“As part of our meeting today, we look at issue of funding.
“We agreed to recommend to the General Assembly of ECONEC flat rate of financial contribution irrespective of size or endowment that each member states should contribute to the cost of running ECONEC.
“In other word, it is not going to be the responsibility of one nation but shared one. (NAN)