What We Learned From Liberia Election – INEC

Akinola Ajibola  
Updated October 10, 2017
File photo: Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has learned from the ongoing election in Liberia as it prepares for the general elections in 2019.

This is according to the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who is the President of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC).

Professor Yakubu, who spoke from Liberia on Tuesday, noted during a phone interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today that the Commission has been exposed to the importance of early preparation for elections.

“On comparison with Nigeria, I must say that there is a little comparison as such because the entire system of voting here (in Liberia) is manual while the aspect of our own process (in Nigeria) is electronic,” he said.

“But one lesson I think that we can learn from what is happening in Liberia is the importance of early preparation for elections, particularly in the area of logistics.

“In the areas of voter education, awareness, identification of polling units, ensuring that people know exactly where to go on Election Day to vote,” he added.

On the assessment of the conduct of the Liberian poll, the INEC boss adjudged the process as peaceful, describing it is a plus for the country’s democracy and the West African sub-region.

He also commended the efforts of the country’s electoral commission and the preparations made ahead of the election as no major incident has been recorded so far.

“So in all and all, it’s all good-natured – very peaceful, very calm and people have voted. The first stage of the process, which is the actual opening of the polling units on commencement of polling has gone remarkably well,” he said.

Yakubu, however, highlighted a few challenges witnessed during the poll, especially in the areas of logistics and voter education.

He said, “We have seen some challenges here and there today on the voter register; some came with their voter cards but their names are not on the register whereas some came with their cards but couldn’t identify the exact polling place.”

“The second issue is logistics; getting to some of the remote areas in Liberia is a very, very big challenge.

“In fact, the ECOWAS Observer Mission was caught in a roadblock but this was also being addressed by the United Nations … providing some helicopter assistance and also the electoral commission had to hire some aircraft to deliver logistics,” he added.