On 13-14 February 2018, ECES supported the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in organising a two-day technical Committee meeting on INEC Communication Policy. The workshop which took place at the Le’ola Hotel, Maryland, Lagos was a follow-up to a review meeting the Commission had between June 5 and 6 2017, convened a well-attended workshop that reviewed the policy for the first time since its production in 2013. The Committee thereafter approved the inauguration of a special Technical Committee, made up of external resource persons and experienced internal staff to consider the recommendations and come up with a draft document capable of being adopted as the new Communication policy.

The special Technical Committee established by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to review and update the Communication Policy (CP), completed its assignment on 14th February after two days of rigorous roundtable deliberations in Lagos. The review workshop made several recommendations and resolutions that were subsequently considered by the Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC).

Declaring the meeting open, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Prince Solomon Soyebi described the meeting as “a third level review” with the goal of producing what would be presented as a final document to the Commission. Prince Soyebi described the composition of the Committee as one of the sources of its strengths and congratulated the old members who participated in producing the initial policy for being part of the review, just as he welcomed new members whose resourcefulness were needed to add value to the existing document.

Earlier in a welcome address, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Lagos State, Mr Sam Olumekun thanked the participants for choosing Lagos as the venue and reiterated the need for the review. He said: “The need for a sound Communication Policy, especially in a heterogeneous society as ours cannot be over-emphasised. The laws and regulations governing the electoral process are dynamic and change from time to time, and it is against this backdrop that the round table is timely. Of particular importance, according to him, is vertical communication between the Headquarters and State/Local Government Area offices. “This requires a thorough review,” he added. In his goodwill message, ECES representative in Nigeria and Country Project Director, sponsors of the meeting, Mr. David Le Notre, said “The retreat is in line with ECES’ output which aims to improve INEC’s capacity for internal communication and engagement mechanism with stakeholders. He further added that the retreat is in been funded under the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) programme which seeks the reinforcement of democracy in Nigeria through enhancing effective and legitimate democratic institutions achieved by cumulative actions within the five components of the programme.

ECES hopes that this workshop achieves it’s set objectives of developing a draft document capable of being adopted as a new version/edition of the INEC Communication Policy and as well enhance INEC’s Strategic Communication.

It is also expected that deliberations including the new policy that will be produced will incorporate all issues that will cover the dynamics of the Commission’s internal and external communication. The participants for the meeting included: Prof Mohammed Kuna, Prof Bolade Eyinla, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, Rotimi Oyekanmi, Andy Ezeani, Osaretin Imahierobo, Victor Aluko, Aliyu Bello, Mohammed Musa and Rifkatu Duku; Others are: Dr Akin Akingbulu, Dr Tom Adaba, Mr. Obadiah Tohomdet, Kayode Idowu, Lanre Arogundade, Ibiba Don Pedro and Ahmed Balarabe Sa’id.

The meeting also benefitted from the presence and active participation of National Commissioner Mohammed Haruna, who was also part of the team that produced the initial Policy.