Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Yakubu Mahmood, has presented a 2017-2021 Strategic Plan to the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.
Mahmood, who visited Saraki in company of some national commissioners and the secretary of the Commission, said the plan would guide the commission on what needs to be done even beyond 2019.
He told Saraki and other Senators that the Commission was working on a clear plan to ensure the success of the 2019 general elections.
He posited that what facilitated the success of the 2015 general elections was the existence of a very clear strategic plan that covered the last electoral cycle, noting that the plan expired last year.
“Last year, we began work on the new strategic plan to cover the current electoral cycle. It is a five-year plan covering the period of 2017-2021,” he said.
Mahmood said the commission had gone through all the processes of the strategic plan including stakeholders validation of the document.
“The strategic plan comes with a programme of action so that between now and 2019 and beyond, we know exactly what INEC is going to do on daily, monthly and quarterly basis, and we will be tracking. Gone are the days when elections are done on a pre fixed basis. There has to be very clear parameters,” he stressed.
He commended the Senate for the expeditious passage of the Electoral Act, saying that it had come well ahead of the 2019 election.
According to him, one of the problems Nigeria has had is that amendment to the Electoral Act comes on the eve of elections, stating that the amendment by the Senate was remarkable because it was one of the most extensive amendments to the Act so far.
“We worked with the Senate Committee on INEC, and we produced our own submission. I’m happy to say that virtually all the submissions we made had been taken care of,” he noted.
Mahmoud added that the amendment was one of the most technologically-friendly amendments of the Electoral Act in the history of the country.
In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Saraki, said the amendment would help to improve Nigeria’s electoral process, pointing out that it had laid a very good foundation that all were proud of.
He therefore, tasked the commission to ensure that it took advantage of the amendment to give the country very credible elections in future, while pledging the full support of the Senate in helping INEC achieve its strategic plan.
“The responsibility is now on you to take us to that level of election that will, again, be a pride of not only Africa but the world. I think we can do that with the new law that we have in place,” he said.
Saraki further expressed optimism that the use of technology in elections would help the commission meet up with international best practices.
“The application of technology is something that has to happen. It gives you the power to apply that appropriately,” he said.
He assured INEC of Senate’s support, saying that the Strategic Plan showed that the commission was committed to ensuring a free and fair election that Nigerians would be proud of.
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