The European Union has announced the launch of a Thirty Nine million Euro (€39m) programme tagged EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) Phase II.
The launch, billed for Monday September 12, is a re-affirmation of the EU’s commitment towards supporting Nigeria’s electoral process and promoting transparent, inclusive and credible elections in the country.
A Statement by the Press Officer for the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Modestus Chukwulaka confirms that the initiative is funded under the EU’s Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument, over a five-year period.
It reads that the overall objective of the EU-SDGN is to foster a functioning pluralistic, inclusive, participatory and representative democracy in Nigeria. It adds that inclusive, participatory and transparent elections are a pre-requisite for a strong democracy.
“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,” said Ms. Samuela Isopi, Ambassador of the EU to Nigeria and ECOWAS.
The project will be anchored in the priorities identified by the Nigerian government. It also builds on the lessons learned from the implementation of phase I of the programme (2017-2022), and the recommendations of the EU Election Observation Mission made after the 2019 General Election as well as those of the EU Election Follow-up Mission to Nigeria. More specifically, it will focus on six thematic areas of support:
• Improve the quality of electoral administration in Nigeria
• Strengthen capacities for legislative and judicial reform in compliance with democratic principles and standards
• Enhance Pluralism, internal democracy and equality of opportunity in the political parties and the political party system
• Empower Media, including new media to promote fair and ethical coverage of the electoral process and combat hate speech and disinformation
• Enhance participation of women, youth and other marginalized groups in the political process
• Empower civil society organisations and relevant agencies to demand greater transparency and accountability in the electoral and decision making process, and promote greater citizens’ participation.