By Chinwe Ogbuka, Assistant Director, Publicity
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked the European Union (EU) to continue to support the implementation of its 2017-2021 Strategic Programme of Action and the 2016 – 2019 Election Project Plan.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the request on 7th May when a delegation of the EU, led by the Deputy Managing Director of Africa Directorate, European External Action Service (EEAS), Mrs. Birgitte Markussen paid a courtesy visit to the INEC headquarters in Abuja.
The Chairman, who was represented by National Commissioner May Agbamuche-Mbu, also requested for technical assistance for the development of Policy and Legal Framework for boundary delimitation.
Prof. Yakubu noted that the cordial relationship between INEC and the EU has contributed to the improvement of quality elections and the development of democratic and political governance in Nigeria.
The Chairman said that the EU’s Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN), aimed at contributing to the reinforcement of democracy in the country through the building of strong, effective and legitimate democratic institutions, is anchored on the priorities of the Federal Government and the recommendations of the EU Election Observation Mission on the 2015 General Elections.
The INEC Chairman said that the project was also meant to complement the Federal Government’s efforts to improve and strengthen democracy with regard to the 2019 General Elections
He disclosed that the EU-SDGN has supported the Commission on various programmes such as the strengthening of the Election Management System (EMS) tools for Anambra governorship elections; Election Project Plan workshop; BRIDGE Training on Gender and Elections, and Support to the Legal Services and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Department.
Earlier, Mrs. Markussen said that her team was at the Commission for deliberations on areas where the EU could further assist the Commission towards the conduct of a free and fair 2019 general election. She added that the EU has around 26 programmes with INEC, “which we are proud to be part of.”
She recalled that INEC played an important role in 2015 to achieve a democratic transition that the world witnessed and “we were also happy, as EU and was part of the team working on the ground.”
She observed that although, the EU was preparing with INEC to have a successful, free and fair general elections next year, “there are still some procedures on our side and this is something that we are looking at.”
National Commissioners present at the event were Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, Prince Solomon Soyebi, Alhaji Baba Shettima Arfo and Mallam Mohammed Haruna.