Existing working relationship between the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the British High Commission is to be further strengthened for better electoral administration in Nigeria.
The leadership of both organisations made the pledge yesterday when the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, led a delegation to the Headquarters of INEC in Abuja.
Chairman of the INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, acknowledged the tremendous support INEC had enjoyed in the past from the British High Commission, the British government and institutions.
He said: “Your institutions have supported and encouraged us in every way – the UK Department for International Development, DFID, the Commonwealth Office, the UK AID and the donor basket managed by the UNDP and grants to our local CSOs. They have also supported us in training and capacity building, Alternative Dispute Resolution, voter enlightenment, political parties, domestic and international observers, the media and youth engagement.”
Professor Yakubu called for continued cooperation, even as the Commission under his watch planned to consolidate on the achievements of the past.
He unveiled some critical areas the Commission would improve on for better election administration. They include: professionalisation of election administration to deliver better elections, institutionalisation of IT-based solutions in election administration, planning, election coordination, security and election risk management, increased engagement with stakeholders for maximum participation with emphasis on women, youths, People Living With Disabilities and to ensure undisrupted participation of internally displaced persons, IDPs.
In his remarks, the British High Commissioner, Paul Arkwright, congratulated the INEC Chairman on his appointment and commended the quality of the composition of the Commission.
He observed that the elections held this year were greatly encouraging and it gave a huge amount of confidence to the people of Nigeria in the electoral system, stressing that “the confidence is crucial as you take out your task”.
The envoy pledged the UK Government’s commitment to political stability through credible elections in Nigeria. He said: “Our support has been consistent, our support will continue, we want to work with you and with your priorities and with your fellow Commissioners.”