The Director General of the National Institute for Legislative Studies, NILS, Prof. Ladi Hamalai has reiterated the commitment of the Institute to engage the media on deepening democracy and strengthening democratic institutions in the country.
The DG, while giving remarks at an interface between NILS-Steering Committee on Developing a Strategic Plan for Engaging Political Actors towards a transparent and acceptable 2019 General Elections, and media executives in Abuja on Monday, November 20, 2017, stated that the NILS Act 2011, gave the Institute a broad mandate, including election monitoring, advocacy programmes, designing capacity building programs and engaging in democratic process among others.
She suggested creation of a sub working-committee from the collaboration between the Steering Committee and the media, to work towards a common objective in the effort towards achieving a free, fair, credible and transparent and acceptable elections in 2019.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Steering Committee on the NILS development of a Strategic Plan on engagement with political Actors and Political Office Holders, Hon. Aminu Shehu Shagari has stated that NILS has developed programme modules for various strategic conferences, seminars and workshops that would serve as a fora for engaging critical stakeholders and Political Actors on issues such as Media-Political Party Relations; Political Party, Media and Civil Society Relations; Media and Electioneering Campaign; Enhancing Voters Education; Social Responsibility and Party Accountability to mention a few.
Speaking during the interface with media chiefs in Abuja, the Chairman noted that “as a build up towards the 2019 General Elections, following the release of the timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), there is need for critical stakeholders to put all hands on deck to support the democratic process.
Hon. Shagari, in his remarks, informed the media executives that the objective of the Committee is in tandem with the statutory mandate of NILS for capacity building and defending the core ethics of democracy, legislative practice and procedure; and concern that the high rate of turnover of legislators particularly at the National Assembly is at the expense of high cost of training invested on lawmakers and quality legislation. He implored the media Actors to collaborate with the Steering Committee, noting that as a critical pillar of democracy, the cooperation of the media is much needed to achieve a free, fair, credible and acceptable general elections in 2019.
The interactive meeting was wrapped with an assurance from the National President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Waheed Odushile, who in a vote of thanks, pledged the cooperation of the media in the salient effort to deepen democracy via strengthening critical institutions and building the capacity of stakeholders and political office holders.