The European Union, EU, has pledged to continue its support towards enthroning transparent and democratic governance in Nigeria, but advised that concerted efforts should be made to encourage youth participation in electoral processes in the country.
Making the pledge in Lagos, on Wednesday, during the “Youth Vote Campus Outreach Programme” organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the EU, Ambassador Keti Karlsen, head of EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, advised that if Nigeria truly want to consolidate democracy it will ensure that the youth bracket which makes up 60 per cent of the population should be made to take active role in the electoral processes.
Karlsen, said the EU had actively supported enthronement of democracy in the country and would continue to lend its support because Nigeria’s unity is very important to Europe.
He said, since 1999, the EU has spent about €100 million to promote and sustain democracy in Nigeria is is willing to sustain the support so as to deepen democracy in the country.
“We have kept our promises and have followed up the process through active engagement with the legislature and the Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, and currently engaging in strengthening the ‘Young To Run’ initiative of the federal government”, he said.
He said while the European experience may not be at its best now, the level of its performance that is well cherished is expected to be replicated in Nigeria, through consistent policy support for good ideas and transparency to thrive.
The Ambassador, however, decried the low level of youth participation in the country’s electoral processes and urged the students to take advantage of the Permanent Voter Registration, PVC, center opened by INEC in the campus to to register and obtain their PVCs in readiness for the 2019 general elections.
In his speech, the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu expressed disappointment over low registration of students in the campus, and assured them the Commission would do everything possible to carry out credible elections in 2019.
Yakubu explained that the decision to open a registration center in the University is to encourage more youths to take active participation in the electoral process and urged them not to be disappointed in the country’s democratic processes in the past.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, commended the INEC for the decision and urged the students to take advantage of the center to obtain their PVCs and participate in the coming elections.