The European Union (EU) has announced a €26.5m grant to support Nigeria’s electoral process through promoting transparent, inclusive and credible elections.
The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, disclosed this at the formal launch of the EU Support Programme to Democratic Governance in Nigeria, EU-SDGN, being funded under the 11th European Development Programme, EDF, over a five-year period.
Ambassador Karlsen said the overall objective of the EU-SDGN was to contribute to reinforcement of democracy in Nigeria through building strong, effective and legitimate democratic institutions.
According to Ambassador Karlsen “ahead of the 2019 general elections, Nigeria is at a pivotal moment that allows the country to take important steps to consolidate democracy and strengthen the electoral process.”
“The EU continues to partner with Nigeria in the on-going reform process with a view to strengthening the capacity to conduct well-managed elections with ample participation of all Nigerians, he explained.”
Ambassador Karlsen said that the project would be anchored in the priority areas identified by the Nigerian government with collaboration of other stakeholders.
In a goodwill message, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu said 74 million voters had been registered so far ahead of 2019 elections.
Professor Mahmood commended the EU’s support initiative, which he said would promote rule of law, good governance and democracy in Nigeria.
The project will be anchored in the priorities identified by the Nigerian government and recommendations of the European Union Election Observation Mission made after the 2015general elections as well as those of the EU expert Identification and Formulation Mission to Nigeria.
The project will focus on thematic administration in Nigeria;
Improved quality of electoral administration in Nigeria;
Effective discharge of legislative function in compliance with democratic principles and standards;
Enhanced pluralism, tolerance, internal democracy and equality of opportunity of political parties and political party system;
Fair, accurate and ethical coverage of the electoral process by the media, including radio and social media; and
Women, youths and marginalized citizens, Civil Society Organisations and other relevant agencies contributing to enhance the electoral process in the country.