Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari, has canvassed for greater support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ahead of the Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship elections scheduled for Saturday, 21st November and Saturday, 5th December 2015.
She made the call today at the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja when the UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Opia Mensah Kumah paid a courtesy call to the Commission.
Represented by National Commissioner, Ambassador Lawrence Nwuruku, the Acting Chairman commended the long standing relationship and support of the UNDP especially through the Democratic Governance Development (DGD II project). He said: “The UNDP has been a traditional ally to Nigeria in terms of development, in particular INEC. We have been having it good with you and we appreciate it all”.
Briefing the Commission’s visitor on INEC’s preparations for the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections, the Acting Chairman used the opportunity to canvass for strengthened cooperation to achieve greater heights in the electoral process.
Earlier, Mr. Opia Mensah Kumah, who recently took over from Mr. Dauda Taore upon successfully completing his tenure, congratulated the Commission on the successful conduct of the 2015 general elections. He said: “I am overwhelmed positively by the conduct and outcome of the last elections. Elections everywhere are complex operations, and in a country of over 160 million people the task must be complicated”.
He explained that his mission to the Commission was to express appreciation to the Commission for the support given UNDP and other collaborators especially in implementing the DGD II project. “Without your leadership, your hand holding and your guidance, would not have worked,” he said.
He further stated that he came to hear the Commission’s assessment of the existing relationship between both organizations, stressing that it would allow the UNDP learn lessons and improve its support moving forward.
“You are a critical institution in the emerging democracy of this country and UNDP and its partners are willing and keen to partner with you for tracing a future path for Nigeria,” he said.
Mr. Opia Mensah Kumah’s UN career spans two decades. He first joined the UN in August 1994 as UNESCO regional advisor in the UNFPA Country Support Team (NUFPA/CST) based in Adis Ababa. As regional advisor for advocacy, information, education and communication, he supported UNFPA country offices, Government departments and other stakeholders to formulate, implement and evaluate IEC interventions to boost reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, gender, and population & development programmes in some 14 countries in Eastern, Central and West Africa. He also provided technical oversight of UNFPA’s regional IEC training programmes for Anglophone and Francophone Africa, based respectively in Nairobi and Abidjan.
In August 2001, Mr. Kumah joined the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in New York as Chief of the Advocacy and Information Management Branch. In this position, Mr. Kumah oversaw and directed OCHA’s advocacy, Public Information (PI), information management and ICT functions.
In 2007, Mr. Kumah was appointed UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative (RC/RR) for Comoros. He led the UN country team to become a Delivering as One (DaO) volunteer, a status that brought significant financial and other benefits to the country and the UN system.
In December 2008, he led the UN to organize an international conference on the Khartala Volcano, which brought together experts from five continents to explore the science, disaster risk and socio-economic potential of the Khartala. Another significant milestone of Mr. Kumah’s tenure in Comorous was the organization in Doha, Qatar, of the Arab Development and Investment Conference on the Comoros, which raised over $500 million in pledges from Arab and Islamic States.