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Nigeria 2023: EU launhes €39 million for SDGN programme

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By Maureen Okon

Ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 general elections, the European Union (EU) has reaffirmed its commitment in launching, on Sept. 12, the sum of 39 million Euros towards the EU-Support Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU- SDGN).

The bloc made the commitment in a statement issued by its delegation on Saturday to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

It stated that in supporting Nigeria’s electoral process the bloc has launched, on Sept. 12, a programme aimed at promoting transparent, inclusive and credible elections in the country.

According to the statement, the bloc’s Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Samuela Isopi, says the programme tagged EU-SDGN Phase II, is a €39m initiative.

“Funded under the EU’s Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument, over a five-year period.

“The overall objective of the EU-SDGN is to foster a functioning pluralistic, inclusive, participatory and representative democracy in Nigeria. 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 EU 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 Isopi.

She added that the project would be anchored on the priorities identified by the Nigerian government, saying it builds on the lessons learned from the implementation of Phase I of the programme from (2017-2022).

She said that the recommendations of the EU Election Observation Mission were made after the 2019 General Election as well as those of the EU Election Follow-up Mission to Nigeria, more specifically, it would 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 marginalised groups in the political process.

“Then lastly, 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,” she said.

NAN