In line with our wider efforts to support sustainable and inclusive democratic societies, UNDP has over the years, implemented several initiatives aimed at enhancing the capacity of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) and other actors responsible for credibility and inclusiveness of electoral processes. In Nigeria, UNDP remains the lead United Nations agency that supports national efforts that continue to strengthen democratic governance in the country.
During the 2019 electoral cycle, as in the past, UNDP took a partnership approach, working closely with several Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on a number of initiatives that were key to ensuring that the elections were peaceful, inclusive and overall credible.
UNDP worked with the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) in promoting peace during the elections. This was done through engaging political players in consultations that culminated in the signing of Peace Accords in four states (Kaduna, Benue, Kano, Rivers). Signing of Peace Accords was critical in demonstrating commitment by political party leaders to conducting themselves in a manner would promote issue-based campaigns and address contentious issues with potential to conflict points before they occur. UNDP continued to engage with communities through its partners on the ground to ensure that the provisions of the Accord were respected by all parties.
With support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNDP provided funding support to local CSOs that enabled them to undertake activities aimed at promoting women’s political participation and leadership. A number of activities were implemented in six states (viz, Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Imo, Lagos, Rivers) and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Under this initiative, women were provided with platforms to amplify their voices, mobilise other women and sensitize the public on the importance of ensuring inclusiveness in political processes. The CSOs undertook voter education activities and also conducted campaigns aimed at encouraging eligible citizens, especially women, to register as voters.
UNDP also worked with women parliamentarians and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in developing legislation that would protect and promote women’s right to participate in elections and governance processes. TO this effect, UNDP supported the development of a bill “Women Participation in Elections Support (WOPELS) Bill” which aims at facilitating advocacy, awareness and eventual passing of a legislation that will help to galvanize women participation in elective offices in the country. The Bill successfully passed the first reading in the House of Assembly and the second reading commenced in January. UNDP also supported the establishment of a platform for media engagements for women parliamentarians which enabled them to share their experiences and challenges as female legislatures and also to encourage other women to actively participate in political party processes.
In the run upto to the elections, UNDP supported the production and broadcasting of several content on radio and television with the ley message to promote citizen’s participation in the electoral processes. On election days, working together with the NHRC, UNDP deployed 900 election observers across the 36 States. The observers were critical in collecting and documenting any instances of human rights violations during voting days.