By Vera Sam Anyagafu
The British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Laure Beaufils, has, over the weekend, disclosed that the UK governmentwill spend about 47. 4 million pounds on Deepening Democracy in Nigeria Programme Phase 2 (DDiN2), saying that the DDiNs is a programme funded under the Department for International Development (DFID), arm of the Commission and is geared towards supporting democratic governance around the world with focus on Nigeria.
Beaufils said this during an interactive session with journalists to mark the 2018 International Day of Democracy, tagged, ‘Deepening Democracy in Nigeria’.
According to her, the UK government will be contributing significantly to the goal of free, fair, credible, and peaceful 2019 elections in Nigeria and to ensure this, the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos has outlined measures that will support the success of the polls next year.
“The UK is a long-term partner and friend of Nigeria in all spheres, including politics. The Prime Minister, Theresa May’s, visit to Nigeria is a testament to the fact that the two countries maintain a healthy bi-lateral relationship. However, the UK has no preference for any party or candidate, but making frantic efforts to give advocacy and campaigns to support citizens-led groups to curb electoral violence”, Beaufils added.
Speaking also, Programme Coordinator, Deepening Democracy in Nigeria (DDiN2), Damilare Babalola, stated that the British Deputy High Commission is working earnestly with relevant stakeholders to deepen democracy and to, within the next six months, ensure free and fair polls and best elections outcomes.
She said the DFID-UK funded programme, which has been in existence for the past four years will be working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and relevant security agencies, among other relevant bodies, to ensure a successful 2019 elections in Nigeria, and to also improve voters-participation, participatory governance and electoral process during polls.
“DDiN is an on-going process that supports civil society organizations and provides periodic intervention with the public.
The body also works with relevant stakeholders to ensure an all-inclusive political process in Nigeria, as well as reaches to the grassroots to ensure issue-based politics, peaceful and non-violent political process come 2019”, Damilare said, while speaking on how to curb vote-buying among politicians and the little INEC or UK government can do, if there is no assistance from other stakeholders to ensure thugery and violence are reduced to the barest minimum.
For a fact, vote-buying is a threat to peaceful elections if not contained and I urge all stakeholders in Nigerian politics to eschew all forms of vote-buying and threats to peaceful elections, come 2019.”