2019: EU empowers INEC with £26.5m, insists every vote must count

Ahead of the 2019 , the European Union delegation to Nigeria yesterday in Abuja admonished the stakeholders to ensure that every vote counts.
To this effect, the Union disclosed the release of £26.5 million to the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) towards supporting the entire electoral process for reinforcement of democratic governance in the country.
EU’s admonition on the forthcoming came from Mr Ketil Karisson , the Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS in his speech at the opening ceremony of the 2-day summit on elections observation organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies ( NILDS).
According to the Ambassador, “in the 2019 general elections, which will be taking place in the 20th year of Nigeria’s current democratic governance, every vote must count.
Every voter must be able to believe in a fair and free election process.
“Every voter must believe in his or her meaningful contribution to democracy.” He added that to support the Nigerian election process, the EU is planning to deploy an election observation mission to monitor the 2019 national elections which will be the 6th time for the Union since 1999.
“The EU is doing this because we have a strong interest in Nigeria’s political stability because a breakdown of Nigeria’s democracy will have significant negative impact on the stability of the West African sub -region , the African Continent and Europe,” he said.
He added that though the 2015 elections were historic, with the opposition winning for the first time and the incumbent conceding defeat, there was still a long way to go, a submission the Senate President, Bukola Saraki concurred to, when he stated that the conduct and outcome of the 2015 general elections should be the minimum standard to be adopted for the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
“As the 2019 general elections draw nearer, it is my hope that we will not only replicate the success story of 2015 but in fact, surpass our previous achievements.
“Thus, we should consider 2015 as a minimum standard and work to deepen our Democratic culture as we emerge as a vanguard for other emerging democracies not only in the continent but globally,” he said.
Earlier in her opening remark, the Director General of NILDS, Prof Ladi Hamalai, said the need for greater citizens’ engagement in elections observation for credibility of the entire process, necessitated the summit.

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