Nigeria has committed to support and partner the Economics Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) in the conduct of credible elections to ensure socio-political stability in the West African sub-region.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo made the pledge when the leadership of the ECONEC led by its president, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, visited him in the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.
He explained that Nigeria’s decision to continue to support the electoral bodies was informed by its belief in the fundamental principles of free elections.
“It is one of those initiatives that we should be proud of and must support, and I can assure you that the government of Nigeria will fully support your efforts.
“In the past, as you pointed out Prof, we have supported several of our brothers in the sub-region and we intend to continue to do so because we believe in the fundamental principles of free elections.
“And we believe that the only way to ensure stability in society is to ensure that people have a right to elect their leadership but not just a right on paper but a right in practice.
“And the only way by which that right can be manifested in practice is by free and fair elections.”
He congratulated Mahmud Yakubu on his election as ECONEC President, and thanked all members of the network for giving (Yakubu) him the opportunity to serve them.
He also thanked the members for giving Nigeria the honour to host the secretariat of the ECONEC permanently.
He said: “you said it was unanimous and I’m glad to know it was unanimous because who would have been able to resolve the electoral conflict.
“Again, I must congratulate you and thank all of the members of the network for giving Prof. Yakubu an opportunity to serve and thank you for giving Nigeria the honour to host the secretariat of the ECONEC permanently.
“We promise (to provide) all the support that will be required by the secretariat and will be required by the officials of the secretariat.’’
The acting president expressed the hope that the ECONEC would be able to bequeath to coming generations strong nations that would be led by the rule of law and democratic principles.