The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says democratic elections will contribute significantly to the advancement of Nigeria’s development aspirations.
Mr. Deryck Fritz, Chief Technical Adviser for Election from UNDP, made the statement at a two-day workshop for INEC staff ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Fritz spoke at the event with the theme: “Review of indicators and capacity building on Election Monitoring and Support Center (EMSC) Report Validation.”
He said UNDP, as an entity entrusted with organizing elections, should not be partial, rather it should serve interests of all Nigerians, including women, youths, persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons, and traditionally marginalised groups.
According to him, “We are all aware that democratic elections can contribute significantly to the advancement of Nigeria’s development aspirations.
“This is only possible if the elections are organised in such a manner that the voters believe that their votes will matter.
“In line with SDG 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, UNDP continues to support inclusive, transparent and credible electoral processes for peaceful and cohesive societies.”
Fritz further explained that outcomes of elections well organised would be viewed as legitimate, and thus, the social contract and the resulting governance were strengthened.
He added that INEC was a service entity; and to serve the public effectively and efficiently, it must be self-organised internally, with each of its component parts complementing the others.
“The EMSC will ensures the efficient planning and organisation in the work of the INEC, promoting consistency and responsiveness, minimising delays and building confidence of the key political actors in the conduct of the electoral process.
He said it would also assist in countering disinformation, building trust and credibility in the overall process.
Also, the National Commissioner in charge of Planning Committee, Prof. Rhoda Gumus, said it was timely because it shall focus on the review of EMSC indicators and build on the capacity of HODs on EMSC report validation.
According to her, “the Commission has started implementation of the 2022-2026 strategic project plan, 2022 Electoral Act as amended, and time-line electoral activities for 2023 General Elections.
She said EMSC had played a very important role in the off-cycle elections, engaging on prompt and proper reporting and validation.
Gumus said the training would provide the HODs a better understanding to perform their duties, as the commission prepared for the 2023 General Elections.