Nigeria: General Elections 2019

Time until Saturday, 16 February 2019, 08:00:00 (Lagos time)



The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) to identify strategies that would reduce violence and litigations in the Nigeria’s  electoral process.
The Chairman of the Commission, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, made the call today when the Council of ICMC, led by its President, Barrister Emeka Obegolu, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
Professor Yakubu noted that there was a lot the Commission and the ICMC could achieve in ensuring that elections were free, fair and devoid of rancor. He said “If we can mediate and if all of us can be on the same page, we can conduct our elections seamlessly, less litigation, less the amount of money spent in prosecuting those processes of litigation and our elections would always be conclusive”.
While underscoring the important role of Alternative Dispute Resolution in the electoral process, the INEC Chairman regretted that the Nigerian political space was conflict prone; adding that “where ever the Commission had difficulty, it was simply because of violence”.
Professor Yakubu further disclosed that “the Commission had been dragged to court over 1000 times since the 2015 general elections, adding that  “this is always at a cost to the Commission and the country”. 
The INEC Chairman noted that “It would be ultimately cheaper for everybody if we have a seamless process and that process can be achieved not just by the legislation enabling us to conduct elections and legal processes but also the intervention of Institutes such as the ICMC”. 
Earlier, the President of ICMC, Barr. Emeka Obegolu had commended the current leadership of the Commission for its dedication towards ensuring that Alternative Dispute Resolution was deployed to resolve party disputes.
He said the visit was to further solidify and strengthen the partnership with the Commission as well as chart a way forward for the deployment of ADR tool in other aspects of the Electoral Process to reduce litigations, violence and advance the cause of democracy in Nigeria.
The ICMC President also use the opportunity to inform the INEC Chairman of the Institute’s decision to recognize his immense contribution to the deployment of ADR in the political space in the country by conferring on him, a honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chattered Mediators and Conciliators at their forth coming induction for new members.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and one of its Development Partners, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) have pledged to explore new avenues of cooperation ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood made the this known when he played host to the Vice President of IFES, Michael Svetlik, at the Commission’s Headquarters, Abuja yesterday.
Professor Mahmood, while appreciating the long standing relationship between INEC and the IFES observed that the Support of IFES had contributed in no small measure in ensuring that some INEC programmes were robust and successful. “Some of our programmes wouldn’t be as robust as we would like  them to be without the support of IFES and for which we remain appreciative; and we look forward to additional areas of cooperation as we work together,” he said.
The INEC Chairman added that the IFES support in the development and implementation of the 2017 – 2021 Strategic Plan would go a long way in ensuring the success of the Commission’s outing come 2019.
Earlier, the Vice President of IFES who was on a state visit to Nigeria , said  the timing of his visit was good as it would help his organization understand the situation faced by INEC as the 2019 general elections approached.
He expressed delight over the existing partnership between IFES and INEC and expressed willingness to discuss and exchange opinions that would deepen democracy in Nigeria.