FOSIECON National Delegates meeting1

TEXT OF A GOODWILL MESSAGE BY MR. MANJI WILSON

TEXT OF A GOODWILL MESSAGE BY MR. MANJI WILSON (COORDINATION ADVISOR

AND ELECTORAL ADMINISTRATION EXPERT) ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN

CENTRE FOR ELECTORAL SUPPORT (ECES) ON THE OCCASION OF THE 12TH

FOSIECON NATIONAL DELEGATES CONFERENCE, 8TH MAY 2019, CREST HOTEL, JOS,

PLATEAU STATE

PROTOCOLS

I bring you warm greetings from the Management and board of the European Centre for Electoral

Support (ECES). It is indeed a pleasure to be here in the beautiful tourist city of Jos, Plateau state on

the occasion of this auspicious event, the FOSIECON National Delegates meeting.

ECES is a not-for-profit foundation with headquarters in Brussels delivering technical assistance in

the field of elections. We have worked in over 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East and parts of

Europe and implemented over 70 projects.

ECES is currently implementing the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria

(EU-SDGN) programme – Component 1. This action funded within the 11th EDF is geared towards

building strong and legitimate institutions that will consolidate on the democratic growth of Nigeria and

will run from 2017 – 2022. The 5 pillar support ensures activities and programs that provide support to

the EMB – INEC and SIECs, Support to the National Assembly, Support to Political Parties, Support

to Media and Support to CSOs.

ECES’ objectives within component 1 of the EU-SDGN programme are crafted towards supporting

and strengthening the INEC and of course SIECs through FOSIECON. This will be achieved through

institutional capacity development, enhancing the logistics and operational efficiency of the EMB,

strengthening internal and external communication with stakeholders, support to mass outreach and

voter education activities, support to legal reforms among others.

Local elections are extremely important for the stability of every country, therefore we look forward to

establishing a solid cooperation with the SIECs, who are constitutionally saddled with the

responsibility of administering and managing Local Government elections in Nigeria.

In line with international best practices, EMBs generally organise and supervise elections. Nigeria is

an interesting case given the SIECs are independent from the INEC. ECES would like to learn more

about SIECs modus operandi, learning about their legal frameworks, among others and explore the

possibilities of offering technical support in this regard.

Our partnership with FOSIECON dates back to April 2018 when we supported a 4-day training on

Leadership and Conflict Management skills for Electoral stakeholders (LEAD) workshop for all SIEC

chairpersons in Nigeria, which coincidentally held here in Jos. ECES also provided opportunity for

FOSIECON to nominate 6 of its members to take part in the Train The Facilitator workshop that saw

the certification of same as semi-accredited facilitators of this uniquely ECES and Centre for Creative

Leadership joint curriculum, making them part of the first set in any English speaking west African

country. We have also supported FOSIECON for a peer learning election observation to the Osun

guber elections that held last year.

To strengthen electoral administration for SIECs, I will at this point like to note that ECES has an

existing MOU with the University of Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy which offers a Master in Electoral Policy

and Administration (MEPA) course, the first and only online master on elections. We encourage all

electoral administrators, particularly SIEC management and staff to sign unto this programme and

leverage on it to build their capacity in administering inclusive, free and fair elections to all Nigerians.

ECES is in constant exchanges with development partners as IFES among others to discuss and

identify areas of impactful and sustainable support to SIECs. We hope to have similarly

communication with the SIECs through the FOSIECON leadership and highlight priority areas of

support to SIECs in order to enhance their efficiency. This is the reason we are excited about this event

and hope that concrete decisions will be taken to ensure that SIECs are better positioned to deliver

their mandate.

We seize this opportunity to express appreciation to the European Union for its funding support to

ECES in Nigeria, other countries across Africa and beyond.

I wish all participants a fruitful deliberation and safe trip back to your respective destinations at the

end of this conference.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Manji Wilson

Coordination Advisor/Electoral Administration Expert

European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), Nigeria