As Nigeria prepares for its upcoming elections this weekend (February 25, 2023), the United States has revealed its support for Nigeria’s electoral process with $25 million in election assistance.
Speaking during a roundtable discussion with the press today (February 23, 2023), in Abuja, the assistant administrator of the Bureau for Africa for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Dr. Monde Muyangwa, restated the United States’ support for Nigeria’s electoral process by advancing its long-standing partnership with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Nigerian civil society organisations.
“We support INEC in terms of ensuring the electoral process allows Nigerians to participate. Supporting INEC is just one piece of it. The second piece is working with civil society organizations on the electoral process to ensure that Nigerians across the country can participate, whether it is voter education, explaining the process, or engaging with INEC to ensure that INEC takes the concerns of ordinary Nigerians into account as it develops and implements the electoral process. Those are some of the things we will do with that $25 million to support the Nigerian people in their quest for their voice to be heard through this process and to ensure that INEC puts in place mechanisms that allow people to participate and participate in a way that they feel assured that the process has integrity and transparency,” she said.
Muyangwa, who visited the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at the commission’s headquarters today, expressed reassurance by the preparations made by the electoral body, civil society groups, security and other stakeholders.
Also, she lauded the recently adopted Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and preparations to conduct a Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) on election day, saying such measures under guard and safeguard the credibility and transparency of the process.
“Nigeria’s 2023 elections are a pivotal opportunity for Nigerian citizens to shape the country’s future and for Nigeria to solidify its place as a democratic leader in Africa and in the world. I encourage you to vote for the people you believe are most qualified for the job. This is their chance to express how Nigeria should be governed. Use it wisely! I hope people will remember what you want from your elected leaders and remind them when they are in office,” she emphasised.
The envoy underscored the need for youths, persons with disabilities (PWDs), women, and Nigerians at large to be actively involved in the selection process, saying it cannot be overstated, as their voices cannot be heard if they sit on the sidelines.
Muyangwa added that the United States, at the invitation of the Nigerian government, alongside other observer groups, both national and international, such as the African Union, the EU, and others, will monitor the election process.
“Last night, I met with the National Democratic Institute and International Republic Institute, supported by the International Election Observation Mission led by former President of the Republic of Malawi, Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda. The observation mission includes other distinguished persons, including former representative Stacey Abrams, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Ambassador Mark Green of the Woodrow Wilson Centre, among others. I will meet with the European Union International Election Observation later today. Hopefully, we will be able to get these different vantage points that allow us to pronounce on what we are observing in terms of how the election has been organised or how it is being implemented,” she added.