The National Orientation Agency has thrown its full weight behind the National Institute for Legislative Studies initiative to mobilize all political stakeholders towards a credible and hitch-free 2019 general elections.
While providing the context for this initiative during a courtesy visit to the Director General, National Orientation Agency, Dr. Garba Abari, the Chairman of the Technical Planning Committee on Implementation of NILS Engagement with Political Stakeholders, Prof Alkali, noted that “so far, the Committee has visited over 10 organizations including media and political parties and has received encouraging responses”. He stated that, following the newly assumed mandate of NILS, which includes democratic studies, a function hitherto, within the mandate of the defunct Centre for Democratic Studies, a Steering Committee for the engagement of all stakeholders was initiated by the National Assembly Leadership, under the Chairmanship of Hon. Aminu Shehu Shagari. The objective was to design and implement sensitization programmes, workshops, seminars and conferences that will bring all political actors together to discuss and articulate a generally acceptable political code of conduct that would positively, influence the outcome of the 2019 general elections, and guarantee a hitch-free and credible political process, come 2019.
Responding, the Director General, NOA, Dr. Garba Abari said the visit was coming at an auspicious time of our democratic process. “ Given the critical position of National Orientation Agency, we will use our mechanism to promote unity, patriotism, social justice and peace in the country”. He assured of the NOA’s commitment to the objectives of NILS. “What NILS is doing has far-reaching implications for the good of Nigeria”. He called for the promotion and adherence to National Ethics and the core values of Nigeria as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution Chapter 2 Section 23 (as amended).
The Steering Committee on the proposed workshop for political parties has the former Deputy Senate President Senator Ibrahim Mantu, former Independent Electoral Commission Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party and a professor of Political Science from the National Open University of Nieria, Prof Rufa’I Alkali along with other eminent professors of Political Science in the academia, including Prof Sam Egwu, as members.
The inter-party engagement is a collaborative initiative of the National institute for Legislative Studies with the International Republican Institute (IRI). The IRI/NILS intervention is part of efforts of the leadership of the National Assembly, to create avenues for interface, promote communication, reinforce democratic cohesion, close the gap and engender collaboration among political party stalwarts and between political parties.
IRI has been at the forefront, promoting and helping emerging democracies to learn best practices, address deficiencies and gaps in democracies and become more efficient.