The European Union (EU) has called on the National Assembly to speed up the passage of the legal framework that will govern the 2019 general elections and ensure there are no uncertainties in the process.
The head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, who disclosed this in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday, 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 described the 2019 general elections as a pivotal moment that allows the country to take important steps to consolidate its democracy and strengthen the electoral process said, EU would continue its partnership with the Nigerian government in the ongoing electoral reform process with a view to enhancing the quality and participation of all Nigerians in this very important process.
"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," he said.
Recall that the EU recently launched a €26.5m programme aimed at promoting transparent, inclusive and credible elections in the country, in reaffirmation of its commitment to supporting Nigeria's electoral process. The programme tagged EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN), is funded under the 11th European Development Programme (EDF), over a five year period.
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.
The project will be targeting key stakeholders in the democratic process, including INEC, the National Assembly, the political parties, women, youth, vulnerable groups, and the media.