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Lawan laments funding hitches, U.S. groups seek credible politics, free polls

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan presiding over the second plenary of the 9th Senate having been inaugurated on Tuesday, the 11th Of June, 2019. Photo/Twitter/nassnigeria

President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan has lamented inadequate resources for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to effectively carry out its mandate.

Lawan stated this when the European Union Elections Observers Mission in Nigeria, led by Ambassador Keitec Karlsen visited him in his office, saying Senate want the commission to be absolutely independent and improve in the performance of its statutory functions.

He said INEC, as an institution that has always been supported by the National Assembly, required more support and resources, since the resources available to it have never been enough for the enormous tasks before it.

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He assured Nigerians that the Ninth National Assembly would prioritise credible and acceptable electoral process, which would meet international best standards.

Lawan also pointed out that Nigerian government considered electioneering process of great importance, saying stakeholders in electoral process have lessons to learn from every election.

He commended the European Union Mission for its recommendations on the last elections, adding: “Your visit today is historic as the first visit to my office after election of presiding officers of the Ninth Assembly.

“What can be more important than meeting with elections observers from the European Union. We consider our elections of great importance, we have lessons to learn and we want our elections to be credible and meet with best practices.”

Responding, leader of the Mission, Ambassador Keitec Karleen congratulated Lawan on his election, as President of the Senate, assuring that the EU will continue to strengthen its collaboration with Nigeria.

Karlsen said Nigeria was an important ally of the EU, adding that as an old friend and close ally in terms of economy, jobs creation, migration and other key areas, the EU will continue to work closely with Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the joint Nigeria International Election Observer Mission of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) have said for Nigeria to get its party politics right and conduct free and fair elections, there was the need for hitch-free party politics and national dialogue.

The groups stated this yesterday in Abuja, while presenting its final report on the 2019 general elections to members of the public.

The report, which is a comprehensive analysis of the electoral process, included important recommendations ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Presenting the report, Elizabeth Lewis of the IRI said failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended electoral bill that should have guaranteed improved electoral reform citing proximity to the election, impacted legal framework of the polls.

President of NDI, Ambassador Derek Mitchell said: “The 2019 general elections highlighted the need for a national conversation about the country’s democratisation since the 1999 transition to civilian rule.

“We hope this report may both spur and contribute to enriching that national conversation,” she said.


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