Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has applauded the European Union Election Observer Team for carrying a good job in the coverage and analysis of the 2019 general election in the country.
Gbajabiamila stated this yesterday when he received the EU final report on the 2019 general election from European Union Election Observer team on Nigeria and ECOWAS in his office.
He said: “I commend EU for the tremendous job done all over the world and particularly Nigeria. The recommendations reeled out will be looked into and parliament would look into how to domesticate those befitting as laws. Nigeria is ready to always follow international best practices.
“I commend the fact that there has been improvement in Nigerian electoral process, but more needs to be done. Parliament will hit the ground running in terms of election reforms as the process of elections is before, during and after the elections.”
The speaker noted that: “Election is the bedrock of any democracy and there is the desire to get the process right. Nigeria is determined to get a more transparent and credible elections.
“We also express gladness about the partnership of the European Union and we seek collaboration on e-Parliament, one of the reforms of the 9th Assembly.
“We assure the EU of our readiness to work closer to achieve the best results possible for the Nigerian people. We promise to ensure there remains a harmonious working relationship between Nigeria and the European Union,” he stated.
Earlier, the head of the delegation, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, told the speaker that the European Union has a great deal of respect for the Parliament of Nigeria, saying “There is great importance for the continuous engagement with Nigeria and the Union will continue to lean on the leadership of Parliament to increase union between Nigeria and the European Union who are the biggest development partners of Nigeria as all member nations are strong individual partner of Nigeria.”
He said they are determined to ensure Nigerians do not suffer negativity while in this partnership. “The Union is ready to continue to support in investment and wealth creation in Nigeria.
“The team has been in Nigeria for a long time before, during and after the elections and the European Union has provided over 100 million Euros to ensure Nigeria is supported from the angle of the affairs of government, parliament and civil society.
“We seek to encourage the national dialogue and consensus as doing things late could risk jeopardizing the much needed reform process. We also seek more opportunities for mutual development.”
Also speaking, the Deputy Chief Observer, Hannah Roberts, observed that the improvements on ground as relating to elections in Nigeria is visible; there are, however, still some shortcomings to work on.
“We have come to deliver our final reports with 30 recommendations for reform in the future so that better elections can be made. It is not practical to leave electoral reforms till close to the elections, as there is no time for proper implementation.
“Among the recommendations made, a lot were made last time, out of these, seven of the recommendations are critical, they are: ensuring a more robust way to check results of polls, stronger transparency in voting process, better operational reform on the part of INEC.
“There is also the need for more security coordination between the different relevant security agencies, the involvement of women in the electoral process as Nigeria seems to be at the bottom in female participation in politics in Africa.
“Election tribunals should also cover election processes so that they can be adequately informed when handling petitions after the election process and finally; to ensure the improvement of the process used to issue the licenses to media covering election processes in order to get the required divergence.”
By Brendan Umoren