2019: In­sti­tute plans en­gage­ment with po­lit­i­cal ac­tors

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Hamza Idris

The Na­tional In­sti­tute for Leg­isla­tive Stud­ies (NILS) said it is plan­ning se­ries of en­gage­ments with po­lit­i­cal ac­tors and in­sti­tu­tions ahead of 2019, to map out ways of con­sol­i­dat­ing the gains of 2015 gen­eral elec­tions.

Chair­man of the NILS’s Plan­ning Com­mit­tee for the en­gage­ment, Pro­fes­sor Rufa’i Ahmed Al­kali, led other mem­bers on a cour­tesy visit to Me­dia Trust, pub­lish­ers of Daily Trust ti­tles, in Abuja yes­ter­day.

He said the move was to bring to­gether po­lit­i­cal ac­tors, the elec­toral um­pire, civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions (CSOs) and the me­dia to brain­storm and make ad­e­quate prepa­ra­tions that would jus­tify Nigeria’s demo­cratic gains.

He said NILS was ini­tially a small unit in the Na­tional Assem­bly meant to pro­vide ca­pac­ity build­ing for leg­is­la­tors, their staff and other aux­il­iary per­son­nel; but has grown in ca­pac­ity and out­reach.

“It is so far the only one we’ve in West Africa. The man­date has been ex­pand­ing and re­cently a depart­ment of demo­cratic stud­ies was added and nec­es­sary leg­is­la­tion was made to amend the man­date and strengthen the institution,” he said.

“We’re now in Au­gust and if you look at the po­lit­i­cal cal­en­dar, al­ready INEC had de­ter­mined that elec­tions would hold from Fe­bru­ary to March 2019.

“So, if you look back­wards and look at the pe­ri­ods for the cam­paigns, con­gresses, con­ven­tions, pri­maries and elec­tions, vir­tu­ally not much time is avail­able for plan­ning on how the elec­tion should be con­ducted.

“It is be­cause of this the in­sti­tute de­cided that we need to move fast and as part of this a steer­ing com­mit­tee was set up with mem­ber­ship from var­i­ous back­grounds, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Assem­bly, aca­demics, pro­fes­sion­als, NGOs, who are also in­volved in ca­pac­ity build­ing, en­light­en­ment and mo­bi­liza­tion.

“It’s from there our com­mit­tee was setup to step down all the de­bates, the ar­gu­ments, the think­ing to come up with pro­gramme of action and we reached a point where there should be se­ries of sem­i­nars, con­fer­ences and work­shops tar­get­ing the po­lit­i­cal class in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the me­dia, INEC and mon­i­tor­ing groups so that we should pre­pare our minds col­lec­tively to have a ran­cour free elec­tion,” he said.

The man­age­ment of Me­dia Trust wel­comed the ini­tia­tive say­ing con­sol­i­dat­ing Nigeria’s elec­toral suc­cess of 2015 re­mained a col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Photo: Ikechukwu Ibe

Chair­man of Plan­ning Com­mit­tee of Na­tional In­sti­tute of Leg­isla­tive Stud­ies, Prof. Rufa’i Ahmed Al­kali dur­ing a visit to Me­dia Trust head­quar­ters in Abuja yes­ter­day.

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