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ECONEC Elects First Female President

Newly elected President of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, Dr. Maria do Rosario Lopes Pereira Goncalves.

By Chinwe Ogbuka, Assistant Director, Publicity.

Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Cabo Verde, Dr. Maria do Rosario Lopes Pereira Goncalves has been elected the first female President of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC).

She was elected on 7thAugust at the end of the three- day sixth ECONEC Biennial General Assembly held in Abuja, Nigeria along with other five members of the Steering Committee.

Former President of ECONEC and Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu was also conferred with the Honorary President of the organisation.

Other elected members of the Steering Committee that will oversee the affairs of the ECONEC for the next two years are: Mr. Newton Ahmed Barry, Chairman, Electoral Commission of Burkina Faso, First Vice President; Mr. Momarr Alieu Njai, Chairman of Independent Electoral Commission of The Gambia, second Vice President; Mr. Amdou Ba, Chairman of Mali Electoral Commission as Treasurer, while Madam Jean Mensa, Chairperson of Electoral Commission, Ghana was elected Deputy Treasurer.

The Steering Committee would be assisted by the Permanent Secretary of the Network and Head of the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division (EAD), Mr. Francis Oke.

In her acceptance speech, Dr Goncalves pledged the commitment of newly elected members of the Steering Committee to consolidate the gains already recorded by the outgoing leadership sub-regional body, led by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

The new ECONEC President commended Prof. Yakubu and his team for their achievements in the last two years. She noted that under his leadership, “we were able to establish ECONEC that is today stable. He oversaw four elections in the region and we will continue to seek the support of Nigeria and INEC.” 

She added: “the new Steering Committee will also depend on support and encouragement of all past leaders.”

She noted that with her election, “the General Assembly of ECONEC has demonstrated that there is space for all to exist and we will work together for progress and good of all.”