IFES Assists Nigeria’s Election Commission to Begin Developing New Strategic Plan
From January 16-18, 2017, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) gathered over 100 representatives from the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC) for a strategic review of the commission’s progress over the past five years and to look ahead to the next nationwide elections in 2019. This effort will culminate in creation of a new INEC strategic plan. The strategic plan is a critical input in the formulation of the commission’s 2019 Election Project Plan, helping to contextualize current trends and put INEC in a position to best consolidate and sustain its reforms and gains of the last few years.
Nigeria’s 2015 general elections marked a watershed moment for the country: credible elections resulting in the peaceful transition of power from one political party to another. IFES, with the support of the United States Agency for International Development and the United Kingdom Department for International Development, has worked closely with INEC over the years to enhance its capacity to deliver on its mandate, building on the successes of the 2015 elections and on through a series of state elections and by-elections since then.
These successes can be attributed to, among other things, a practice of sustained in-house review and planning in the wake of each electoral cycle. As such, INEC has commenced review of its 2012-2016 strategic plan and formulation of a new strategic plan for the period 2017-2021. IFES, as the leading international assistance provider to the INEC, is providing technical support on development of the five-year planning document.
As part of this process, IFES organized the three-day strategic planning workshop in January 2017 to provide a platform for INEC to review its implementation of the 2012-2016 strategic plan and begin drafting the 2017-2021 plan. Participants included not only commissioners but also representatives of the INEC’s various functional departments and state-level offices, who shared their experiences, both successes and challenges, in implementing the last plan and offered recommendations to be included into the next strategic plan. INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu called on the commission to strive for greater progress in terms of transparency, integrity, and impartiality in order to best serve the Nigerian populace. Following this workshop, zonal meetings are planned across the country to gather more field inputs into the drafting of the strategic plan, and a final draft will be completed by March.
IFES is working closely with the INEC Strategic Plan Committee to ensure timelines set at the workshop are followed so that the strategic plan for 2017-2021 is developed in a timely manner to allow for validation by stakeholders and final approval by the commission.