Nigeria is to host 35 Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) from member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the South African Development Community (SADC) between April 9 and11.

Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, in a statement issued on Thursday, in Abuja, said the conference would focus on the use of technology during elections.

The theme of the conference, scheduled to hold in Abuja, according to the statement is “Opportunities and Challenges in the Use of Technology in Election: Lessons from West and Southern Africa.’’

He said that the participants of the conference would deliberate on several issues associated with the choice and deployment of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in elections.

He said that the conference was with a view to deepening collaboration among EMBs and strengthening the credibility of electoral processes in the ECOWAS and SADC regions.

“It is being organised by INEC and the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), in collaboration with the Electoral Commissions Forum of the SADC and with technical support from the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES)’’

Oyekanmi added that the conference would be  funded by the European Union Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) project, managed by ECES.

He disclosed that Chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya, Mr Wafula Chebukati, would deliver a keynote address on “Electoral Trust and Integrity: Is Technology an Enabler or a Barrier?’’

“Seven other sessions and separate group discussions, spread evenly across the entire duration of the meeting would follow.

“Senior election technology experts from various international organisations are also attending, bringing the participation of EMBs to 35 countries and roughly 100 participants.

“Some of the topics slated for discussion in the various sessions include: Use of Technology in Elections: Overview of Recent Trends, Lessons Learnt, Issues and Challenges; as well as Use of Technology in Civil/Voter Registration: Assessments, Opportunities and Matters Arising.

“The topics also include the Use of Technology in the Conduct of Elections: Voting, Result Collation and Transmission; Use of Technology for Access to Information and Training/Capacity Building and the Future of Electoral Technology.”

The Chairman of INEC and President of ECONEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, would give a welcome address.

“The Ambassador of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria and West Africa, Mr Ketil Karlsen, President, ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean Claude Kassi Brou, and President, European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) Ms. Monica Frassoni will deliver goodwill messages’’  Oyekanmi added.