The European Center for Electoral Support on Friday said it was proud to support efforts by the Independent National Electoral Commission to deliver credible, free and fair elections in 2019.
ECES’ Project Coordinator for Nigeria, Rudolf Elbling, made this known at a two-day workshop organised for INEC officials in the North-West zone in Kaduna.
Elbling, who was represented by Samson Fadare, Consultant, Election Monitoring and Support Center, said that the Election Monitoring and Support Center was working to integrate the Election Project Plan (EPP) and the Election Management System for effective monitoring of the 2019 elections.
He said: “ECES is proud to support this laudable initiative which among other functions seeks to ensure a seamless logistical and operational deployment plan that will further the objective of delivering a free and fair election, come 2019.
“Today’s workshop is one of the zonal Implementers workshops to be organized across the six geo-political Zones, having conducted that of North-Central Zone in Minna, Niger State, South-West in Lagos, North-East in Yola, Adamawa State and South-South in Benin, Edo State is the last in this series.
“The workshop is taking place simultaneously with that of the South-East zone holding at Enugu and has been put together to familiarize functionaries of the commission across the nation with the structure and operational frameworks of the EMSC ahead of the 2019 general elections.”
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the centre supported the conduct of the EMS Implementers workshops for the off-cycle governorship elections in Anambra in 2017 and that of Ekiti and Osun in 2018.
It also supported the conduct of the EMSC Implementers workshop and retreat for the INEC Chairman, National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners as well as Directors of the electoral commission.
NAN further recalls that the centre also supported the activation of the EMSC dashboard within the framework of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigerian programme.
According to the official, EMSC will continue to provide the tool that INEC requires to effectively manage its field assets, resources, constituencies and chains of electoral activities within the electoral cycle.
He said: “It is also an innovative way to monitor electoral plans and implementation of electoral activities that could assist INEC in evaluating its readiness for an election.”
Elbling expressed delight that INEC had taken a giant stride in integrating its Election Management System, Election Risk Management and Electoral Operations Support Centre to ensure effective implementation and monitoring of election activities in 2019.
He said: “We are also happy that steps toward the operationalization, institutionalization and activation of EMSC at headquarters and state levels have been taken through the inauguration of the EMSC committee, development of reporting templates and manuals and capacity building for key electoral staff.
“It is my hope that the conduct of EMSC zonal Implementers workshops will provide participants with requisite knowledge and as well sensitize them on their expected roles before, during and after elections, thereby laying a solid foundation in this journey towards the conduct of the elections in 2019.
“As INEC prepares for the 2019 general election, ECES looks forward to forging enduring partnership, mutual collaboration and strategic engagements in order to strengthen democratic governance in Nigeria.”
Earlier, the Kaduna State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Alhaji Abdullahi Kaugama, had said that the workshop would consolidate the integration of ERM, EOSC and EMSC, which operated independently in the 2015 General Elections.
Kaugama said: “This integration has a framework to effectively assist in planning as well as identifying areas needing timely interventions, swift actions and adequate preparations across the election cycle.
“The importance of this workshop cannot be over emphasized at this critical time with barely 77 days to the conduct of the 2019 General elections.
“It is my prayer that the end of this workshop, participants will go back to their states well-informed about the structures and operational frameworks of EMSC ahead of the 2019 General Elections.”