By Nathaniel Gana
Vice President of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Mr. Michael Svetlik (IFES) has said that the foundation’s main objective was to assist the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) organize a successful 2019 general elections.
Speaking during his courtesy call on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu in Abuja on 21st August, Svetlik said his trip to the country was informed by IFES’ desire to explore new avenues of cooperation. He said: “This is a good time to visit here with my colleagues, to understand better the situation that you face as we advance towards the 2019 general elections. I am on my way to Monrovia, Liberia. As you know, there’s an important election taking place there in October this year. After that, my organization will focus on the 2019 general elections in Nigeria. We have a long history together. We are pleased with our partnership and good relationship with Nigeria and especially with INEC. Your success is our objective.”
Responding, Prof. Yakubu thanked the foundation for the assistance it had rendered to the
Commission over the years. He acknowledged the long-standing relationship between the two organisations that had made some of the Commission’s programmes more robust. He said: “We remain appreciative and we look forward to additional areas of cooperation as we continue to work together. He added that the foundation’s support for the development and implementation of the Commission’s 2017 – 2021 Strategic Plan “would go a long way in ensuring the success of the Commission’s outing, come 2019.”
Prof Yakubu also said that as President of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), Liberia’s election taking place in October was also of great importance to him.
The INEC Chairman recalled that while monitoring the United States Presidential Election last November, he had visited the Elections Debate Commission where he interacted with the officials and leanrt some lessons. He revealed that the National Assembly was considering establishing a similar version – a permanent Debate Commission – in the country.