Mali presidential election: ECONEC chief Yakubu meets CENI, ECOWAS mission head

Mali presidential election: ECONEC chief Yakubu meets CENI, ECOWAS mission head

- Nigeria's Professor Mahmood Yakubu is the president of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) governing board

- The chairman of Nigeria's Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and his team are preparing for the elections

- They met with other stakeholders to discuss plans for the elections

Ahead of Mali's crucial presidential election scheduled for Sunday, July 29, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, president of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) governing board and chairman of Nigeria's INEC met in Bamako on Saturday, July 28 met with other stakeholders.

Those who attended the meeting were officials of Mali's Independent electoral commission, CENI, and head of ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Mali Ambassodor Kadre Desire Ouadraogo, former Burkina Faso prime minister and also former president of the ECOWAS Commission.

Professor Yakubu's delegation, which includes some senior INEC officials, was received by CENI President Amadou Ba and Barrister Moctar Mariko, president of Mali Human Rights Association.

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Both sides discussed preparations for Sunday's poll and the strengthening of cooperation between ECONEC and CENI in line with the network's mandate on assistance, information and experience sharing, peer review and advocacy for support of election management bodies, to deepen electoral integrity and consolidation of democratic governance in the region.

President Ba thanked the ECONEC chief for the solidarity visit.

During a separate meeting at the ECOWAS situation room, Professor Yakubu and Ambassador Ouedraogo underscored the need for synergy and collaboration among international observation missions and development partners to accompany Malians on the path to stability, democracy and good governance.

The 171-member ECOWAS observation mission to Mali led by Ambassador Ouedraogo includes ECONEC secretariat staff, with the ECONEC permanent secretary, Mr. Francis Oke, head of the ECOWAS electoral assistance division, also serving as member of the ECOWAS technical team, supporting the mission, whose members are deployed in parts of Mali's eight administrative regions.

Some 8 million registered voters among Mali's estimated 18 million national population, go to the polls on Sunday to elect a president in a field of 24 candidates, including sitting President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 73, seeking a second five-year mandate, and with only one female contestant.

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Meanwhile, an election observer group, Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has described the recent call for the sack of INEC chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood by HURIWA as “suspicious, mischievous and self-serving.”

The group accused HURIWA of acting a script for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), adding that “HURIWA has been linked in the past with hatchet jobs and mercenary undertakings.”

The CTA in a statement sent to and signed by its executive director, Dr Chima Amadi said HURIWA's demand is strange, noting that every other independent observer of the electoral process in Nigeria is seeing incremental improvement in the management of elections under the current INEC leadership.

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