From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) announced on Wednesday that they are launching a Political Party Watch Project.
According to a statement signed by Adebowale Olorunmola Country Director, WFD-Nigeria, the plan is to promote inclusion in the Nigerian political party system.
“The initiative which is funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), under the Inclusive and Accountable Politics project will work closely with key stakeholders, including the INEC’s Electoral Institute and the Election and Party Monitoring (EPM), as well as the eighteen registered political parties,” the statement explained.
Explaining further, he noted: “Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Political Party Watch project will research and appraise the concept of inclusion of political parties within the electoral cycle. Findings from the research will be used to engage political parties to strengthen their internal party systems, accountability, democratic and inclusive practices after the 2023 elections.
“Additionally, the findings will be shared with organisations and institutions with mandates and interests to improve the democratic process in Nigeria.
“The Political Party Watch Project will monitor, analyse, and evaluate the conduct of the 18 political parties in Nigeria before, during and after the presidential elections to measure the extent to which tenets of inclusive practices are upheld.
“It will increase public knowledge towards inclusive citizen’s participation and engagement with political parties in Nigeria
“It will enhance inclusive participation in the political party system, particularly during election
“It will ensure that the observation report that will emanate from the project contributes significantly to the political parties’ policy debate and reforms, including advocacy and scholarly research.
“On Election Day, a Command Centre will be operated by the Political Party Watch project team made up of seasoned political party and election experts, for the purpose of receiving and analysing real-time fact-based information and statistics from trained observers in the field.
“A preliminary and final report which will contribute towards strengthening democracy in Nigeria will be released at the end of this project.
“WFD and NILDS, therefore, uses this platform to call on the political parties to be more open and inclusive in their practices and are encouraged to contribute towards the peaceful conduct of the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria.
“The participation of citizens in the ongoing electoral process is fundamental to advancing the democratic process. Therefore, WFD and NILDS call on all voters to turn out en masse and make their votes count, while placing national interest above personal interest.
“WFD’s engagement in Nigeria is aimed at supporting sustainable democratic growth through inclusive citizen participation and strengthened institutions capable of accountable governance.
“WFD is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in the UK. Established in 1992, WFD provides expertise in developing parliaments, political party structures and civil society organisations – the key institutions that make up a functioning democracy.”