The European Union has called on Nigeria’s National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the legal framework that will govern the 2019 Nigerian elections to “ensure there are no uncertainties in the process.”
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In a press statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, said “a timely conclusion of the amendments to the Electoral Act would place the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other key stakeholders on a stronger footing to deliver credible elections.”
Karlsen, who spoke against the backdrop of the recent launch of the €26.5m European Union-Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) programme, described the 2019 Nigerian elections as a “pivotal moment that allows the country to take important steps to consolidate its democracy and strengthen the electoral process.”
He said EU-SDGN was aimed at “promoting transparent, inclusive and credible elections in the country, in re-affirmation of its commitment to supporting Nigeria’s electoral process” adding that the EU would continue its partnership with the Nigerian Government in the on-going electoral reform process with a view to enhancing the quality and participation of all Nigerians in this very important process.
“The overall objective of the EU-SDGN is to contribute to the reinforcement of democracy in Nigeria through building strong, effective and legitimate democratic institutions. Inclusive, participatory and transparent elections are a pre-requisite for a strong democracy,” said Karlsen. “The European Union is committed to strengthening the capacity to conduct well-managed elections and with ample participation of all Nigerians. For this to happen, all must contribute, from the key institutions to the political parties and candidates, from media to civil society.”
The 5-year EU-SDGN project, which builds on the recommendations of the European Union Election Observation Mission made after the 2015 Nigerian elections as well as those of the EU Expert Identification and Formulation Mission to Nigeria, will be targeting key stakeholders in Nigeria’s democratic process including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Assembly, political parties, women, youth and vulnerable groups as well as the media.