Prof Jega in a group picture with some IEA staff and other stakeholders
Two election experts from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in the United States, Prof Merloe, alongside the immediate past Chairman of Independent Nigeria Election Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, have held separate meetings with the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Accra in the past few days.
The engagements were under the auspices of the Kofi Annan Foundation and geared towards ensuring credible and transparent elections scheduled for November this year.
The Kofi Annan Foundation, set up in 2013 in pursuance of credible polls, floated the Election Integrity Initiative which brings together election experts to share ideas on best practices that would ensure credible and transparent polls.
The visit to the country and the various meetings with stakeholders, which included the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), provided platforms for valuable discussions on how to meet the target of ensuring credible elections in consonance with internationally acceptable best practices.
A source close to the IEA told DAILY GUIDE that “the meeting explored ways of guaranteeing the transparency of the process in a way that would result in acceptable results to all parties.”
Continuing, the source explained that “one of the key issues discussed was the display of the voter register on an EC server accessible to all parties and persons with a stake in the roll of voters.”
Also discussed at length was the Prof Jega module of engaging the services of academics and other professionals to play roles of collation officers during the election. This, they agreed, is a means of ensuring the credibility of the electoral process.
The meeting, DAILY GUIDE learnt, was also a fact-finding mission about what arrangements were on the ground to ensure that the management of the 2016 polls meets internationally acceptable best practices.
Before the curtains were drawn over 2015, the IEA organized a major forum which had Prof Attahiru Jega – the man whose feat in organizing one of the best elections in Africa has earned him international acclaim – make a presentation.
Disappointedly though, the EC declined an IEA invitation to partake in the discourse ostensibly pointing at the pending Amenfi West by-election and a pending trip abroad by the Chairman of the Commission, Charlotte Osei.
Prof Jega repeated the Accra presentation in Kumasi, hammering on the fact that the integrity of every election is hinged upon the quality of the voter register. He recalled how he followed a similar path in Nigeria when it became clear according to him, that the electoral roll was flawed.
The visit of the two experts has taken place at a time when the EC is coming under attack from proponents of a replacement of the voter register because according to them, it has largely been compromised with the inclusion of foreigners, especially Togolese, among other deficiencies.
The US-based NDI works towards ensuring credible elections across the world.
The meeting with the EC was behind closed-doors and so the media were denied access.
By A.R. Gomda