FES,Stakeholders Brainstorm on Electoral Fraud

Jega 600By Danlami Nmodu

Stakeholders in election management today gathered at in Abuja to brainstorm at a conference titled: “ethics and Election:Challenges and Institutional Responses” which is part of the steps by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, a German Foundation towards enhancing the credibility of elections in the West African sub region.
“This conference is one of FES’s contributions towards enhancing the capacity of electoral Management Bodies to better perform their duties in ensuring free ,fair and credible elections”, said Seija Sturies ,resident representative, FES,Nigeria at Ibeto Hotel venue of today’s gathering
“This particular conference looks at the role and importance of ethics in elections.One cannot over emphasize the importance of ethics in electoral process.Election period for some countries is one if not the only period citizens contribute or participate maximally in decision-making.It affords the people the opportunity to weigh all available options and decide who governs the state on their behalf”Sturries said .
She added “ if the process is flawed or marred by irregularities, the integrity of such elections is contested first by opposing candidates and parties ,following the part of the rule of law via litigations and at the extreme,people taking laws into their hands and inciting violence and chaos.”
Sturies who was having the first activity since assuming office as the FES resident representative in Nigeria also announced that this occasion represents “my first time of hosting a regional activity in Nigeria”.It was also the resident representative’s first meeting with National Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC ,Professor Attahiru Jega.Also present at the event was Dr Mamadou Diamoutani,president,CENI,Mali.
The brainstorming sessions will last for two days.Today’s session will feature presentation titled Electoral Statndards:aws, weaknesses, suggested improvements, By ECOWAS.This session is being moderated Professor Jega.There will be group discussion and Abuja Debate later in the day.
Tomorrow’s session according to the programmed shall feature:The role of the media and collaboration with EMBs for credibility of elections,by Kayode Idowu,chief press secretary,INEC and Political financing of elections by Mrs Lilian Mahiri-Zaja,vice president IEBC,Kenya.Other topics for deliberation include electoral tribunals and EMBs in West Africa:complentarities or antagonism?by Barrister Oluwole Uzzi,director,International Cooperation and Protocol,INEC and a session on experience sharing:frauds and mitigations strategies.There shall be a communiqué,evaluation and closure of the worshop moderated by Juliana Anosike of FES Nigeria.
It is of particular importance to reiterate Sturies’ remark in the welcome address that “one of the most agitated for in electoral related law suits is electoral fraud.Hardly is there any election without outcry of electoral frauds.Sadly this phenomenon replicates itself even in elections as small as choosing executive of associations.Iam quite sure the EMBs are concerned about this challenge;it is even more embarrassing for them when it has to do with electoral officials who consciously or unconsciously jeopardize the process”

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