Nigeria will continue to support and partner the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) in the conduct of credible elections to ensure socio-political stability in the West African sub-region.Acting President Yemi Osinbajo made the pledge when the leadership of ECONEC led by its president, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, visited him in the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.
He explained that Nigeria’s decision to continue to support the electoral bodies was informed by its belief in the fundamental principles of free elections.
“It is one of those initiatives that we should be proud of and must support, and I can assure you that the government of Nigeria will fully support your efforts.
“In the past, as you pointed out Prof, we have supported several of our brothers in the sub-region and we intend to continue to do so because we believe in the fundamental principles of free elections.
“And we believe that the only way to ensure stability in society is to ensure that people have a right to elect their leadership but not just a right on paper but a right in practice.”
He congratulated Mahmud Yakubu on his election as ECONEC President, and thanked all members of the network for giving (Yakubu) him the opportunity to serve them.
He also thanked the members for giving Nigeria the honour to host the secretariat of the ECONEC permanently.
“We promise (to provide) all the support that will be required by the secretariat and will be required by the officials of the secretariat.”
The acting president expressed the hope that the ECONEC would be able to bequeath to coming generations strong nations that would be led by the rule of law and democratic principles.
According to him, this is the only way African countries can be stable as well as assure generations yet unborn of stability and progress and abundance in the sub-region.
In his remarks, Yakubu, who narrated the history of ECONEC, said the sub-regional electoral body was formed to ensure the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections through exchange and sharing of ideas and experience.
“The purpose is to come together and assist one another in the areas of experience sharing, peer review and any other support that we can render in ensuring credible elections.
“At the moment and the first time in the history of the sub-region, all 15 countries in ECOWAS are democracies.
“Gone are the days in some countries you had one government in the capital another in the bush. All the governments are in the capital now.
“So, this is a great moment for us.”