I’ll prioritise acceptable electoral processes for Nigeria – Lawan

Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, assured that the Ninth National Assembly will prioritize credible and acceptable electoral processes for the country.

He was also confident that the electoral processes would meet international best practices and the aspirations of Nigerians.

The Senate President spoke when he played host to the European Union Elections Observers Mission in Nigeria, led by Ambassador Keitec Karlsen in his office.

He said that the Federal Government considered electioneering process of great importance.

He noted that there was no doubt that stakeholders in election processes have lessons to learn from every election in the country.

Lawan applauded the European Union Mission for its report and recommendations provided on the last elections.

He described the visit of the Mission as “historic as the number one visit to my office after elections of the Presiding officers of the 9th Assembly.”

He said, “What can be more important than meeting with elections observers from the European Union.

“We consider our elections of great importance, we have lessons to learn and we want our elections to be credible and meet with best practices.

“The National Assembly has always worked hard on Electoral Act to ensure that we improve on the standard. Your recommendations will fire us to more better electoral processes.”

Lawan who blamed “wrong timing” for the aborted Electoral Act amendment in the Eight Senate, noted that “this time, we will be quick to address all the grey areas and come out with better inputs.”

He requested the full report of the Mission to enable the National Assembly to carry out an in-depth study of the document.

The Senate President seized the opportunity of the visit to requested for more collaboration with the European Union Mission.

He urged the Union to help in building capacity of members of Nigerian parliament.

He said, “We need to see an improvement in our electoral system. We solicit for your support to further boost knowledge of our members and committees relevant to this course.

“We in the 9th Assembly will continue to work in a committed and united manner to offer the best to the electorate.

“INEC is one institution that has always been supported by the National Assembly. They also require more support and resources. The resources available are not enough for the enormous tasks. Our desire is that our electoral empire should continue to be independent and improve to perform its statutory functions creditably well.”

The leader of the EU Elections Observers Mission in Nigeria, Ambassador Keitec Karlen congratulated the Senate President for his election as the 9th Chairman of the National Assembly.

He assured that the EU will continue to strengthen its collaboration with Nigeria.

Karlsen who said that Nigeria is an important partner of the European Union added that as an old friend and close ally in terms of economy, job creation, migration and other key areas, EU will continue to work with Nigeria.

He said that INEC invited them as a monitoring body in the last elections.

He noted that as independent observers, EU Observers visited hundreds of polling stations in the country during the polls, affirming that the exercise afforded the Observers to see events on self appraisals.

The EU Mission leader added that 30 recommendations were brought up for electoral reforms and another seven priority recommendations that were comprehensively arrived at.

Karlsen said that the reports were to correct anomalies in elections so that such inadequacies would not be repeated in the future.

He called on the National Assembly to engage in an inclusive debate and dialogues in order to arrive at a more promising electoral system.

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