General News of Monday, 14 December 2015
Former chair of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, has said Nigeria owes Ghana’s former Electoral Commission chair, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, a lot, as far as restoring electoral stability in Africa’s most populous country is concerned.
“We in Nigeria have a lot that we owe to Dr Afari Gyan. No doubt he was the longest-serving electoral commissioner on the continent of Africa and no doubt – regardless of what may have happened in the last elections – he’s done a lot to restore stability in the electoral system in your country,” Prof Jega said at a lecture organised in Accra by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) to mark its 25th anniversary.
Most importantly, he noted, “we [Nigerians] have learnt a lot from listening to him, understanding the challenges he faced, how he addressed them and how we could do better than he had done because it was very important for us to be able to do that.”
Also in his lecture, Prof Jega said it was important for African countries to exchange experiences as far as conducting elections were concerned.
“Knowledge sharing is very, very important,” he stressed, adding: “It’s a very commendable initiative by the IEA to invite me to share my experiences in Nigeria here, but we need to improve the framework of knowledge-sharing among African Electoral Commissions. It’s very important that they meet periodically.
“I’m glad now that the Association of African Electoral Authorities is being revived and hopefully it will be strengthened such that it organises periodic meetings, but also go further to provide peer support to electoral commissioners where elections are being conducted because that peer support is also very important,” Prof Jega added.