Nigeria’s democratic system will get €39 million from the European Union. The EU’s Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument will support the initiative, dubbed “EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) Phase II,” during a five-year period. This would begin on September 12 and serves to reaffirm the EU’s commitment to assisting Nigeria’s electoral process.
The EU said in a statement that the program’s goal is to support credible, inclusive, and transparent elections in Nigeria. The statement continued, stressing that inclusive, participatory, and transparent elections were necessary for a robust democracy and that the ultimate goal of the EU-SDGN is to develop a functional pluralistic, inclusive, participatory, and representative democracy in Nigeria.
The statement quoted the Ambassador of the EU to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Samuela Isopi, to have said that: “Ahead of the 2023 general election, Nigeria is at a pivotal moment that allows the country to take important steps to consolidate democracy and strengthen the electoral process.
The European Union continues to partner with Nigeria in the on-going reform process with a view 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 initiative would be based on the priorities determined by the Nigerian government, the statement said.
It also incorporates the knowledge gained through the first phase of the program’s execution, which ran from 2017 to 2022, as well as the suggestions provided by the EU Election Observation Mission following the 2019 general election and the EU Election Follow-up Mission to Nigeria.
According to the statement, the project will more specifically concentrate on six thematic areas of support, including enhancing pluralism, internal democracy, and equality of opportunity in the political parties and the political party system in Nigeria, strengthening capacities for legislative and judicial reform in compliance with democratic principles and standards, and improving the quality of electoral administration in Nigeria.
Others are empowering media, including new media to promote fair and ethical coverage of the electoral process and combat hate speech and disinformation; enhancing participation of women, youth and other marginalized groups in the political process; and empowering civil society organisations and relevant agencies to demand greater transparency and accountability in the electoral and decision making process, and promote greater citizens’ participation.