INEC Trains Legal Officers Ahead Of 2019 Elections
Posted: 12/Jul/2018

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC on Monday commenced training of its legal officers on global best practices to positively reposition them in handling of pre and post-election cases, ahead of 2019 general elections.

The workshop held in Keffi, Nasarawa State, was supported by the European Union Centre for Electoral Support.

Declaring the workshop open, INEC National Commissioner, Prof. Antonia Simbine, said it was for the enhancement of the capacity and professional capability of the commission’s legal officers for them to continue to be relevant.

She said that having regards to developments in the legal practice, there was need for continuous legal training in global best practices.

Simbine said: “This is to keep our legal officers abreast of current developments in the legal profession generally because of developments in country’s politics and particularly as we approach the 20l9 General Elections.

“It is my expectation that the training will build the capacity of legal officers and positively reposition them on writing of briefs and the handling of pre and post-election cases.

“Further, they will be better informed on the current trends in drafting of legal opinions, contracts, guidelines, regulations and other legal instruments, all of which will not but contribute to responsiveness, professionalism and performance of the commission.”

Simbine commended ECES for supporting INEC with the training meant to assist the commission in delivering on its core mandate of conducting free, fair and credible elections in line with international best practices.

In his remarks, Project Coordinator, ECES Nigeria, David Notre, said that the training, which sought to positively reposition INEC’s legal officers in handling of election petitions and front-loading of evidence, was a step in the right direction.

Notre said that legal officers had the primary responsibility of ensuring that elections and other activities of INEC were conducted in a way consistent with existing laws through proper interpretation and application of the rules.

He said: “Conducting election is a very complex and sensitive task in all democracies. There are numerous and often stringent procedures to be followed meticulously.

“There are also several stakeholders who have specific roles to play as well as rights and responsibilities before, during and after elections.

“There is therefore the need for a clear regulatory framework to guide every stage of the electoral process and set the rule of the game.

“In essence, the electoral legal framework must stipulate clear direction and guide on what to be done, when, how and by whom.”

He expressed optimism that the training would keep the participants abreast of best global best practices in electoral law and place them in a vantage position to professionally render valuable legal services to INEC.

Notre said that ECES was proud to be part of initiative of supporting the legal services department of INEC, and promised that the centre would in the next few days replicate the training in other parts of the country.

He said that the centre planned to support trainings of INEC legal officers and police officers in the prosecution of election offences.

He said: “We plan to organize workshop for political parties on legal framework, compilation of judicial decisions, also with roundtables with Judges of Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and Federal High Court and Judges of Election Petitions Tribunal.

“It is our expectation that all these supports will deepen knowledge and sharpen skills on how to use law and its instruments as veritable tool for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in 2019.”

INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Nasarawa State, Dr Uthman Ajidagba, said the training was critical to the success of 2019 elections.

Ajidagba said that the session was also necessary as there had been some changes in not only the electoral law but also in the regulations and procedures governing electoral processes in the country.

He said: “A commitment of using the best practices in any field is a commitment to using all the knowledge and technology at one’s disposal to ensure success.

“As legal officers of the commission, the training is therefore, an opportunity for learning first-hand, about current trends and legal framework of the electoral process as the laws and regulations governing our electoral process are dynamic.”

Ajidagba said that in line with the commitment of INEC to the conduct of credible elections for sustainable democracy, it was desirable that it engaged in the effective and adequate training of its legal officers.

He implored the officers to engage themselves deeply in the training to ensure that they delivered competent legal services to the INEC.

The Source
By TML News