By Lizzy Okoji
The Federal Government and Civil Society Organisations have lauded German Foundation, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) for its contributions to strengthening Nigeria’s democratic process through its various programmes and partnership.
The Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Mr Clem Agba, and other officials made the commendation at the commemoration of KAS 20th Anniversary in Nigeria themed “Democratic Development in Nigeria in the light of the 2023 general election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was commemorated alongside a valedictory ceremony for KAS Representative to Nigeria, Vladmir Kreck.
Agba thanked KAS for the opportunity to discuss the topic which was apt, at a time when Nigeria was gearing towards its 2023 general elections.
”I am delighted to have been requested to speak on the topic: “Democratic Development in Nigeria in the light of the 2023 general election” at the 20th anniversary of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Nigeria.
“This discussion could therefore not have come at a better time than now that the tempo of political activities has become heightened as the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, prepares the ground for an orderly transfer of power on May 29, 2023.
“I particularly take this opportunity to appreciate KAS for the unflinching support towards the entrenchment of Nigeria’s democracy and its institutions through their regular trainings and capacity-building programmes,” Agba said.
Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, Director-General, Nigeria Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), said that amongst several recorded strides, KAS support to Nigeria had strengthen legislative autonomy and improve governance at the sub-national level.
“In the last 20 years, KAS has, no doubt, made significant contributions to strengthening the capacity of democratic institutions in Nigeria, especially the legislature.
“This has been achieved mostly through structured programmes that include induction programmes at the beginning of new Assemblies, annual workshops for State Houses of Assembly and security-based committees of the House of Representatives.
“As well as the provision of technical support to legislatures at all levels and strengthening internal capacity at the Institute,” he said.
According to him, the partnership between the Institute and KAS in the last three years, has been targeted and indeed most impactful as demonstrated by the passage of strategic bills aimed at promoting inter-agency collaboration among security agencies.
“As well as laws that strengthen legislative autonomy and improve governance at the sub-national level.
“As a result of our joint engagement, more than ten State Assemblies have passed critical laws that cover public financial management and audit, state assembly service commissions, anti-corruption and legislative/judiciary funds management.
“All these have, no doubt strengthened democratic governance in Nigeria,” Sulaiman said.
Mr Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) who also commended KAS and other developing partners who have contributed to Nigeria’s democracy.
Rafsajani, however, expressed concerns over the forth-coming general elections as he urged Nigerians and stakeholders to be more committed to the process to avoid mischievous people hijacking the process.
“Let us first of all congratulate KAS for the contributions they have been making towards the democratisation in Nigeria and many other development partners.
“Who have been working very hard to see that both governments, political parties and Civil Society Organisations in other to improve our democratic processes in the country.
“2023 is coming with huge expectations and huge concerns. This is because of the uncertainty that we are experiencing when we are supposed to be consolidating democracy,” he said.
According to him, there are some political actors that are working hard to ensure that democracy is not successful as we go into 2023.
“We must not allow people to truncate our hard-earned democracy, it took us so long to get here.
“And therefore we must not allow people who have no interest in this country to hijack it for their self-interest,” Rafsanjani said.
NAN reports that present at the event were stakeholders of KAS who includes’ members of the diplomatic corps, International Organisations, government officials, Paramilitary institutions, the media among others. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Isaac Aregbesola