A WELCOME ADDRESS BY JUSTICE I. N. AKOMAS (RTD.) NATIONAL CHAIRMAN FORUM OF STATE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSIONS OF NIGERIA (FOSIECON), TODAY 8TH MAY 2019 AT THE 12TH NATIONAL DELEGATES’ CONFERENCE IN JOS, PLATEAU STATE.
It is indeed my great pleasure to welcome you all to the 12th National Delegates Conference of the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria.
This is in fact a realization of what we had earnestly desired for the last years. You will recall that the last National Delegates’ Conference was held in Kano from 14th – 17th February, 2016, about three years ago. So, this conference has broken a three-year jinx.
As a result of this therefore, the Forum should be eternally grateful to our host Governor, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Barr. Simon Bako Lalong, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, who graciously accepted to support the Plateau SIEC to host this 12th National Delegates’ Conference.
Our thanks also go to the Chairman of Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission, Hon. Fabian Ari Ntung, who midwifed this Conference, and without whom, we may not have been able to get the Governor’s sponsorship. Indeed, FOSIECON is grateful to the government and people of Plateau State. We cannot thank you enough.
The National Delegates’ Conference of FOSIECON is not supposed to be a jamboree but a very instructive conference from where many lessons should be learnt by participants, after which they go home to their various State Independent Electoral Commissions and add value to the processes of conducting acceptable Local Government Elections. We must begin to learn that it is unacceptable for us to make the same mistakes twice. Our subsequent election must always be an improvement on the previous. And so, after each election, there is need for post-election analyses and appraisals, so that we have the opportunity of x-raying our performances in order to identify the flaws, the pitfalls, shortcomings of the election and thereby identify ways and means of ensuring improvement on subsequent elections. We should also learn from the challenges of our sister organization, INEC, and conduct credible elections at the Local Government Level.
What were the easily identifiable challenges of the last National Elections conducted by INEC between February 23rd and March 9th 2019? In our planning, we must be consistently conscious of the fact that election is a process, not an event. The implication of this is that we must commence our strategic planning early enough and must not take anything for granted until the election is successfully held.
What was noticed in the last National Election conducted by INEC was logistical challenges in some areas which led to the late commencement of polls.
Also noticed was the increase in the number of results declared ‘inconclusive’ in some states which reflected the competitiveness of the Elections.
The theme of 2019 National Delegates Conference of FOSIECON: ” LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA: LESSONS FROM 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS” is most apt viewed against the background of the need for Election Management Bodies to increase the confidence index of the electorate.
State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) should therefore learn from these challenges in the last General Elections and strive to conduct elections that are generally credible, transparent and acceptable in our Local Government areas in Nigeria.
I urge all delegates to attentively listen to the thought-provoking papers from our Resource persons; our major “take away” from this year’s National Delegates’ Conference must be the conviction and determination to go home (at the end of this conference) to provide level playing grounds for free, fair, credible Local Government Elections.
Thank you for listening and I wish us very fruitful deliberations.
Sir/Hon. Justice (Dr.) I. N. Akomas (Rtd.)
7th May, 2019