By Victoria Ojeme
The United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, has made a case for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and heads of election monitoring support centres to deliver a hitch-free election next year.
Mr Matthew Alao, UNDP Nigeria Team Lead, Governance, Peace & Security, GPS, who made the call at the opening ceremony of INEC’s Election Monitoring and Support Centres, EMSC, workshop, organized by UNDP in Gombe, said the training would strengthen the capacity of INEC’s Election Monitoring Support Centres.
According to him, the training is to ensure efficient planning and organization in the work of INEC, promote consistency and responsiveness, minimize delays and engender confidence of the political actors in the electoral process.
He said: “UNDP is a partner to the government towards the improvement of the democratic process in Nigeria and this activity is one of the several activities that we are supporting INEC to achieve, transparency, credibility and integrity of the election. And as you know they have been trying to improve in this and they need UN support to be able to get there and that is why we are funding them.
“For UNDP, we have a programme towards this 2023 general election for which what we are doing now is a part of the several activities; we are going to engage in civic and voter education, we are going to train the trainers on voters and civic education, we are going to also support INEC to courts, that is the trainers to train the judges ahead of the dispute management that will result from that election.“
and credibility in the general election procedures.
“This informs UNDP’s partnership with INEC to organize and fund these series of workshops,” he added.
He explained that election was critical to democratic progress which created an important opportunity to advance democratization, encouraged political liberalization, and promoted rule of law and sustainable development.
”You will agree with me that the contemporary democracy, since 1999, has no doubt contributed substantially to Nigeria’s economic progress, development prosperity, freedom of speech and political party growth. This is made possible through sustained incremental improvement in the conduct of elections especially since 2011.
“The current management of INEC has continued to build on this foundation thereby increasing public trust and confidence in the election process. The performance of INEC in recent elections has been acknowledged by the citizens and the international community.
”However, there is room for advancement. Election processes must continue to be conducted in a manner that electorates will believe that their votes will count; that the election umpire will be impartial and ready to serve the interest of all the citizens regardless of their social standing including women, youth and persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons and other marginalized groups.
“Transparent, free, fair and credible election is a foundation to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal, SDG, 16 which seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for SD, provides access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. UNDP will continue to assist INEC to achieve its mandate, as well as accomplish and sustain inclusive, transparent and credible electoral processes for a peaceful and cohesive society.
“UNDP is optimistic that this workshop will promote prolific interactions among the participants for an enhanced and credible electoral outcome.
”We equally hope that the knowledge gained in this workshop will contribute to increased efficiency in the organization and conduct of elections in ways that key political stakeholders and the general voting population will have full trust in the elections and their outcomes,” he added.