The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday commenced the third national retreat on validation of the draft INEC 2022-2026 Strategic Plan and Strategic Programme of Action in Lagos.
This was toward improving the electoral system.
Declaring the retreat open in Ikeja, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, noted that the commission was poised about achieving its mandate.
He lamented that a total of 42 INEC offices had been burnt and vandalised since 2019.
Yakubu was represented by an INEC National Commissioner, Dr Adekunle Ogunmola.
He said that the commission’s strategic plan and strategic programme of action would give a focused direction toward the achievement of the goals and objectives of the commission.
He said: “The spate of arson and vandalisation of INEC facilities and properties appears not to be abating.
“Just yesterday, our office in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State was set ablaze bringing the total number of INEC offices burnt/vandalised to 42 since 2019.
“However, the commission while engaging with relevant stakeholders to change the narratives remains committed to the discharge of its statutory responsibilities of improving and sustaining democracy in the country.”
According to him, in order to develop a system to institutionalise continuous improvement at all levels toward its mandate, the commission has since 2012 adopted the use of strategic planning to carry out its constitutional and statutory responsibilities.
Yakubu said that INEC had produced two strategic plans and strategic programmes of action covering 2012 to 2016 and 2017 to 2021.
He said that about-to-be-revalidated one would further strengthen the conduct of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections.
The INEC chairman said that the 2022-2026 plan and programme were developed following a comprehensive review of the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan and Programme as well as at both the State and Zonal levels.
He said the documents were blueprints designed to help the commission develop a pragmatic roadmap that would serve as a practical guide for its work in the next five years.
Yakubu said that the need to monitor the process of implementation would be very crucial after the validation, because the commission had many milestones to be met before the 2023 polls.
The chairman commended the efforts of the Strategic Plan Committee (SPC), Planning Monitoring and Strategic Committee (PMSC), the Directorate of Planning and Monitoring (DPM) and all staff in making the work a success.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Strategic Planning Committee, retired AVM Ahmed Muazu, said the strategic plan and programme of action underscored the importance of planning to avoid failure in any task.
Muazu said the specific objective of the plan was to provide a strategic direction for INEC and the actions to achieve its mandate within the national and international contexts of its operation.
According to him, the strategic plan provides a paronamic view of the commission’s plan within the next five years aligning with its strategic objectives to achieve its mandate, vision and mission.
He added that the 2022-2026 strategic programme of action contained the details of activities derived directly from the key actions of the strategic objectives and implemented over a timeframe.
In his address, Mr Hamza Fihri, Project Coordinator, European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), expressed the centre’s sympathy over the arson and attacks on INEC facilities and properties.
Fihri described the spate as unfortunate and regrettable.
He commended the commission’s recent expansion of voter access to polling units.
Fihri said the ECES would be interested to observe the commencement of Continuous Voter Registration exercise and how the introduction of the online portal for pre-registration would ease the exercise.
According to him, the nation’s electoral environment will also depend on the review of the legal framework and of the constitutional review process.
It was reported that the two-day retreat had in attendance senior management staff, directors, administrative secretaries and electoral officers of the commission across the federation.