The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Ebonyi has commenced a state level post election review workshop of activities during the 2019 general elections.
The one-day workshop which was held at the state Headquarters of the commission in Abakaliki on Monday, had key INEC staff, ad-hoc staff and other key stakeholders in attendance.
Prof. Okechukwu Ibeano, INEC National Commissioner for Abia, Ebonyi and Imo states, said that in spite of successes recorded in the 2019 general elections, the commission still recognised that the exercise was with challenges.
Ibeano commended members of staff for their commitment, hard work and perseverance throughout the election period which made the commission to achieve its target.
He described the 2019 general elections as the biggest ever conducted on the African continent.
He said: “It is clear that the magnitude of work that we have just concluded is second to none on this continent.
“You are looking at an election that involve over 150,000 voting locations with a population of over 84 million with about 1.2 million election officials that participated in different ways.
“The officials that took part in the election are about three times the entire population of Armed Forces of West Africa, hence the election was like mobilising the entire armed forces of West Africa.
“So, this is a huge engagement that we have just concluded and this is why I think we should start by first congratulating ourselves.”
Ibeano said that despite the challenges experienced during the elections, it did not in any way affect the commission from achieving a credible election.
He, however, added that the commission would not fail to recognise that the 2019 general election was not a perfect one, stressing that the only way to continue to improve on the conduct of elections was to look back while moving forward.
He said that the purpose of the workshop was to provide a platform for evaluation by looking back at the elections, identify those things that worked well and those that did not work well in order to prepare for future elections.
“This workshop is therefore a root and branch evaluation of the 2019 general elections and it is a comprehensive review involving staff across board.
“This is the first of its kind because in the past such reviews involved only the Resident Electoral Commissioners, administrative secretaries, national commissioners and other staff at the national headquarters.
“But, as you can see, this state level review workshop does not only involve staff at the state headquarters, it also involves staff at local government area offices, INEC ad-hoc staff, among others,” he said.
Earlier, Prof. Godswill Obioma, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Ebonyi, said the review workshop would promote better electoral processes in the future.
He said that discussions at the workshop would be all inclusive, urging participants not to be deterred by any personal distractions.
“We will break into sections as the workshop progresses and the idea is to ensure that we gather and garner as much as possible, conversations from various levels of our interventions,” Obioma said.
He further urged participants to be open, frank, objective and to narrate their experiences on say the field in order to bring out the best from Ebonyi.
He added that the post-election review would enhance the role of electoral officers, improve the electoral process and broaden the capacity of electoral officers to deliver on their mandate.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 40 participants are in attendance while a communique is expected at the end of the workshop. (NAN)