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Recently, the country has seen a number of democratic success, including one of the most credible and peaceful elections in the nation’s history in 2015. USAID supports electoral and political processes through targeted assistance to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, domestic election observation efforts, and political party development. Our current elections assistance includes a focus on non-violence acknowledging that the 2011 elections were the most violent in Nigeria’s history with 800 fatalities in three days and over 65,000 displaced.
Peaceful and credible elections are a key to development. They provide a channel for Nigerians to choose candidates who will govern and ensure access to basic services for citizens. Support to electoral processes strengthens efforts to professionalize electoral administration, increase participation in electoral matters, address electoral conflict and reduce violence, increase participation of marginalized voters3, and provide support to political party development.
SUPPORT FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS
We assists Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission to institutionalize reforms to ensure more credible and accountable electoral processes. Our interventions improve the quality of the elections, the competence of the Commission, and cultivates public confidence in elections and their outcomes. We support the Commission's implemention of a nationwide voter education campaign focused on voter registration and participation to ensure that all citizens – including those living with disabilities and other disenfranchised groups, know, understand, and can exercise their right to vote. We also support the country's Election Management System to enhance coordination, effectiveness, and efficiency.
The Support for the Electoral Empowerment of Civil Society Project strengthens Nigerians' capacity to administer, observe, and report out on their own elections. The Project enhances Nigerians’ capacity to conduct domestic election observation and record election vote totals. The Project trained and deployed 2,500 domestic observers for the 2015 General Elections. These observers were trained in how to conduct a “quick count” otherwise known as Parallel Vote Tabulation, which is a systematic observation methodology that independently measures the quality of election-day processes and official voting results.
ELECTORAL EMPOWERMENT OF CIVIL SOCIETY
We support youth participation in political processes and the promotion of peaceful elections. USAID supported a get-out-the-vote and non-violence campaign for 2015 endorsed by Nigerian non-partisan celebrities. We work closely with Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency, and other relevant bodies, and explore ways to assist Internally Displaced Persons with voting and exercising their civic rights to choose their leadership.
SUPPORT FOR POLITICAL PARTY DEVELOPMENT
Positive long-term democratic development also depends upon strong, inclusive political parties. Political parties in Nigeria currently lack strong internal mechanisms that promote effective representation, inclusive decision-making and responsiveness to constituent needs. To address these issues, the Support to Political Party Development Project works with political parties to strengthen their internal democracy. The Project assists political parties in their efforts to develop and communicate issue-based platforms taking into account various constituencies, including women, youth, people living with disabilities and private sector advocacy coalitions in Nigeria. The project assists parties to participate in candidate debates over radio, women candidate campaign training and educational fora, party poll agent training, and the promotion of non-violence messaging into campaigns.
Last updated: October 28, 2016