The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has reiterated the readiness of the Green Chamber to continuously offer legislative push for a credible political process in Nigeria.
Saying that credible election is critical to the deepening of the nation’s democracy, the speaker while receiving a delegation of the United Nations Election Needs Assessment Mission to Nigeria (NAM) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in his office on Wednesday, noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other critical stakeholders must be supported in their quest to give the country credible elections.
He said: “For any constitutional democracy, the first thing is to have credible elections, and it is on that foundation that we can build other areas. Without that, we can’t have what we call democracy.”
Gbajabiamila said it was in the light of ensuring an enduring democracy for Nigeria that the National Assembly carried out fundamental amendments to the electoral law that was recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Against all odds, we’ve been able to pass far-reaching reforms through the Electoral Act to deepen our democracy and strengthen our electoral process”, he added.
He also noted that though cultural factors remained an issue, women’s participation in government would be positively reviewed by the National Assembly.
“It’s a process we are working towards; we have to do it right and with patience so that no one is disenfranchised.”
While commending the UNDP for its interest and support for credible elections in the country, Gbajabiamila said, “Whatever you need from us, as long as it doesn’t compromise our sovereignty, as a House of Representatives, we will be ready to work with you to deliver credible elections.”
Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the delegation, Serge Gakwandi Kubwimana, noted that the UNDP did not get involved in elections without specific requests from the governments through their relevant institutions.
He, however, said that the group’s requests to the speaker were centred on how to strengthen Nigeria’s electoral process as well as the inclusion of women and people with disabilities in the electoral process and the technical or advisory assistance the organisation could offer.
Signed:Lanre Lasisi, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria.