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EU Pledges Continuous Support For Nigeria’s Election

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By JULIANA AGBO, Abuja –

Ahead of the 2019 general election, the European Union (EU) has pledged its continuous support, saying the country is at a pivotal moment to take an important step to improve its electoral process.

Former chief observer of the 2015 EU Election Observation Mission ( EU EOM) and Member of the European Parliament, Santiago Fisas,  said this in Abuja while making clarification on EU assessment of the 2015 Elections.

Fisas who disclosed that the mission was in Nigeria to assess the current electoral reform process and the extent to which previous EU Election Observation Mission recommendations have been addressed, commended the National Assembly for the progress made so far in constitutional and electoral amendment.

He advised political parties to ensure internal democracy by ensuring that their primaries are done in a democratic way, adding that,  “It is important to know the background of the candidates and be sure they are the right people to run for election.”

He, however, called for expidited action of the amendment process, noting that, “for election reform to be effective, amendments need to be adopted as soon as possible.”

“There is need for the implementation to start well before 2019 general election. I believe that a strengthening of the democratic process is what we all would like to see.”

Fisas harped that an inclusive, transparent and credible election, will enjoy public and political confidence, which according to him is crucial for Nigeria’s democracy.

While the mission commended INEC for what it described as its increasing initiatives, including an improved continuous voter registration, the merging of accreditation and voting process for off-cycle elections, it identified areas of failures it said requires urgent attention.

The areas include, provisions empowering INEC to sanction campaign violations, increase transparency in the publication of results and reinforce policies to better integrate women and youth into political life.

“We know to run for election in Nigeria is quite expensive. We also know that campaign is costly so I believe that political parties should help women in campaigning and it is very important to promote the participation of women in politics from the local election”, he said.

“Security is important and the people must be free to vote. It is important that Nigeria merge the accreditation and voting on the same moment, this is important for the comfort of people.”

“Opportunities to improve the organisation and conduct of upcoming general election should not be missed. Parties and institutions need to show decisive leadership at this important juncture in Nigerian’s democratic development.

“Civil society and media also have a very important role to play in the conduct of peaceful, transparent and inclusive elections,” he added.

 

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