2019: EU urges NASS on speedy passage of legal framework
ABUJA—THE European Union, EU, yesterday, urged the National Assembly on speedy passage of legal framework that will govern the 2019 general elections to ensure free, fair and credible process. Judicial symbol for justice Head of European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, who made the call, said a timely conclusion of the amendments to the Electoral Act would place Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and other key stakeholders on a stronger footing to deliver credible elections. Karlsen, who spoke against the backdrop of the recent multi-million Euros European Union Support to Nigeria’s democratic governance, described the 2019 general elections as a pivotal moment that would allow the country take important steps to consolidate its democracy and strengthen the electoral process. He said the EU would continue its partnership with the Federal Government in the on-going electoral reform process, with a view to enhancing the quality and participation of all Nigerians in the process. He said: “The European Union, EU, calls on the National Assembly to speed up the passage of the legal framework that will govern the 2019 elections and ensure there are no uncertainties in the process. “The 2019 general elections as a pivotal moment allow the country to take important steps to consolidate its democracy and strengthen the electoral process. ‘’The European Union would continue its partnership with the Nigerian Government in the on-going electoral reform process with a view to enhancing the quality and participation of all Nigerians in this very important process. “The European Union is committed 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 EU’s project on the 2019 general elections focuses on the following thematic areas for improved quality of electoral administration in Nigeria as follows – effective discharge of legislative function in compliance with democratic principles and standards; Enhanced pluralism, tolerance, internal democracy and equality of opportunity of political parties and the political party system; Fair, accurate and ethical coverage of the electoral process by the media, including radio and social media and Women, Youths and Marginalized Citizens; Civil Society Organisations and other relevant agencies contributing to enhance the electoral process. It will be recalled that the EU recently launched a €26.5m programme aimed at promoting transparent, inclusive and credible elections in the country, in re-affirmation of its commitment to supporting Nigeria’s electoral process.