As part of preparatory engagements for the 2019 elections, the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) has solicited for support of the United Nations to assist it in the conduct a peaceful, credible election.
Yakubu said INEC needed technical support in form capacity building for staff, voter education and sensitisation and the electoral legal framework.
The commission also said the support of the world body was needed to assist political parties in capacity building, electoral conflict mitigation, inclusiveness, particularly of women, youths and persons with disabilities.”
The Chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, made the request yesterday at a meeting with the UN Need Assessment Mission on the 2019 general election, Mr. Sergi Kubwimana.
Yakubu recalled that over the years, the UN had been providing critical support to INEC in the commission’s effort to introduce and sustain reforms of the electoral system in Nigeria.
The INEC boss who told the UN officials that their visit was auspicious as the 2019 general election was only 389 days away, added that the commission has issued timetable and a schedule of activities for the election.
He assured the UN of the commission’s total commitment to the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria by conducting free, fair and credible elections.
While informing his guests of development in the electoral process, he said INEC has registered over 74 million voters promising that the number will rise.
According to the INEC chairman, the number of registered political parties stands at 68 while the commission is processing over 90 fresh applications seeking registration as political parties.
He also informed the visiting UN officials that there are 119,973 polling units, 8,809 electoral wards and 1,553 constituencies for which elections will be conducted in 2019.
The INEC chairman told the UN delegation that over the last two electoral cycles (2010-2015 and 2015-2019), the commission had deliberately and purposefully embarked upon far-reaching reforms of the electoral system in terms of operational procedures
Other measures include changes in voting procedures, enhancing the physical security features on the ballot papers, ballot boxes and result sheets, the reorganisation of the commission’s administrative structures, capacity building and professionalisation for the staff; instituting the long term planning processes; introduction of technology such as biometric registration and authentication process (permanent voters’ cards and smart card readers), collation and results management as well as the trafficking and monitoring of electoral activities.
Kubwimana, who is the UN Electoral Assistance Divivsion and Team Leader of the NAM in Nigeria, said in doing so, the UN would look at the overall context, political context, social economic context and human right context.
He added that in conducting the needs assessments, the UN would work with relevant stakeholders including the security, political parties, civil society organisation, including women organisations and the People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs).
“Women organisation is also important aspect of our collaboration to see how we can increase representation of women in politics and also increase number of voters. Security is also important in any given contest,’’ he said.