Monday, March 12, 2018 5:19 pm
Albert Massaquoi is the Director, External Relations and Public Outreach of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in Sierra Leone, an institution that has a close working relationship with International National Electoral Commission, INEC in Nigeria. In this interview with ABUBAKAR HASHIM, he spoke on NEC’s appreciation of the approved donation by the Nigerian Government to NEC for the just concluded elections, the political landscape and other issues
Nigeria, recently, approved a donation of various logistical items to NEC. What are your responses?
The People of Nigeria have always been on our side and we will always remain grateful to this great and kind gesture. The recent approved donation is timely. It is a mixed bag of pick- up vehicles, trucks, and speed boats for reverine areas. The donations for 2012 catered for land activities, while the recently approved donation is for multipurpose electoral activities.
We are still utilising the vehicles donated by Nigeria in 2012. The approved 2018 donation is considered as a diversification of logistical needs. It will definitely add value to the electoral process.
NEC really appreciates Nigeria’s support towards promoting democracy and the electoral process in Sierra Leone. We heartily appreciate this support. Nigeria is a big brother. Sierra Leone will ever remain grateful to Nigeria for its role in ending the 10-year civil war, Nigeria’s continued support to other sectors and her role in the Sub Region, Africa and the World is quite evident.
How did NEC prepare for the elections?
We rolled out our electoral activities based on established time lines and our level of preparedness was acceptable to all stakeholders including the political parties.
We had long concluded voter registration, issued voters ID cards, declared campaign periods which will last for 30 days for all the registered political parties and independent candidates.
To curtail violence, all the political parties signed elections campaign code of ethics, including all Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council candidates during their nominations. The political parties endorsed their candidates and it is their responsibility to encourage their candidates and supporters to abide by electoral codes of conduct. The onus is also on candidates to abide by these codes of conducts. Any breach of the codes is subject to prosecution by law.
How do you see the present political landscape in the country?
It’s going to be an interesting contest for all categories of the multi tier elections from local councils to Presidential. The present political landscape is polarized with new political entrants and players, thereby expanding the political space. NEC is resolute to conduct free, fair and credible elections on March 7, 2018 that meet international standards and best practices.