SOJI AJIBOLA, Ibadan
Six Resident Electoral Commissioners, (RECs) from South-West geo-political zone recently had a two-day retreat in Ibadan, Oyo State to validate the draft document on strategic plan for the commission’s operation from 2022 to 2026.
RECs in attendance were, Prof. Olayinka Raji (Ogun), Dr. Tella Adeniran (Ekiti), Mr. Sam Olumekun (Lagos), Mr. Segun Agbaje (Osun), Mr. Rufus Akeju (Ondo) and Mutiu Agboke (Oyo.)
Briefing the newsmen at the end of the retreat, the REC commissioner, Oyo State, Mr. Mutiu Agboke said the INEC 2022-2026 strategic plan and strategic programme of action were to replace the current INEC strategic plan of action (2017-2021) that would end this year.
He said that the entire INEC programmes, such as vision, mission, values, strategic objectives, key actions and activities were streamlined into the two documents, tagged ‘Strategic Plan (SP) and Strategic Programme of Action (SPA).’
Agboke said that some of the objectives of the SPA 2022- 2026 were “to provide electoral operations, systems and infrastructure to support the delivery of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections.
“Also to improve voter and civic education and promote knowledge of sound democratic electoral processes and to register political parties and monitor their operations, among others.’’
He said the committee set up by the commission to develop the 2022-2026 strategic plan had concluded its work, adding: “The review of the draft document has also been completed by the South-West states, having taken into consideration their respective states’ experiences and peculiarities to identify specific issues that should be factored into the implementation of the document.
“The outcome of each state’s review is now ready to be injected into this validation meeting to ensure that cross-cutting issues and challenges, based on shared interests, are also taken into consideration.”
He said the process of validating the drafted strategic document must, however, be guided by the need for ownership of the process by the commission and engagement with various key stakeholders in the electioneering process.
The REC, therefore, urged the participants to critically look into all areas, indicating noticeable gaps, inputs, recommendations and the likes.
These, he said, should include the peculiarities of the states in the zone, such as Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State, Lagos environment, Ondo riverine areas, as well as the cultural nature of Ekiti and Osun states.