A Washington DC based democratic institution, National Endowment for Democracy, NED, has expressed concerns over raising insecurity in Nigeria especially about violent attacks aimed at disrupting the forthcoming general elections in parts of the country creating room for constitutional crisis in the West African country.
President, NEC, Damon Wilson expressed the concern when he met with the Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC and Electoral Matters, Senator Kabir Gaya in his office on Wednesday as part of the fact finding visit of the democratic institution to Nigeria ahead of elections in February.
The visit which is the first to be embarked upon by Wilson and his colleagues at NEC was at the behest of the Executive Director of YIAGA Africa, a community and youth mobilizer who has been at the forefront of promoting democratic values in Nigeria.
Wilson said Nigeria being “a political and economic powerhouse in Africa has the capacity to influence democratic values on the continent and even beyond and as such must get it right every step of the way as it enters into another round of elections, the 7th since its transition to democracy in 1999.
Receiving his visitors, Gaya highlighted the many gains that Nigeria has achieved in terms electoral reforms aimed at improving the integrity of the electoral processes.
The amendments according to the Kano State born lawmaker have included the use of card reader and other electronic technologies like the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System(BVAS) to eliminate a culture of rigging and ballot box snatching.
He said the most fundamental of all the reforms is the introduction of an arrangement that will for the first time make it possible to transmit election results from the polling units electronically into a centrally monitored server of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
He however admitted that while there are rooms to improve on the work the National Assembly has done especially in the last two years culminating into the passage of the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended, what is currently on ground can last and stand the test of time for Nigeria for a long time to come.
A keystone of President Renard Regan’s legacy, NEC was founded in 1983 for promoting democracy in other country.
Even though it is a private entity, its fundings come primarily from an annual allocation from the United State Congress.
Editor: Ena Agbanoma