The NED disclosure stands in stark contrast to various permutations of major political parties and opinion poll results in recent months.
Meanwhile, the US agency said that the 2023 elections in Nigeria are “a consequent choice” while congratulating the electoral commission for introducing technology into the electoral process.
These were revealed in an interview by NED President and CEO, damon wilsonduring a meeting convened by Yiaga Africa to interact with other stakeholders on preparations for the 2023 general election.
Established in 1983 by the United States Congress for the Promotion of Global Democracy, NED is a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to growing and strengthening democratic institutions around the world.
Annually, the agency awards more than 2,000 grants to support projects by nongovernmental groups working for democratic goals in more than 100 countries around the world.
wilson’s words: “Nigeria is the fifth largest democracy in the world; it is on track to be the second largest democracy in the world by 2050, even larger than the United States. But he has a major election in less than 40 days, based on seven elections since the transition.
“And we have seen in this time a Nigerian democracy that has ousted incumbents, where term limits have been imposed, peaceful transitions have taken place and now we have seen a country that is about to have a technically more effective election that has strengthened The authority. , the Independent National Electoral Commission, which is leveraging technologies to help ensure greater credibility for voting at a time around the world, where things are a bit difficult for democracy and elections in many places are headed for hurdles. Nigeria offers an example of a world of progress and momentum.
“There’s a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm and we’re looking to understand that to learn from that and see how we can help support that.”
Wilson, who expressed concern about the low turnout in Nigerian elections, said his organization’s mission was not to come and predict the upcoming Nigerian elections.
He also pointed out how Nigeria’s democracy has evolved dramatically to the point that the current presidential candidates have made it very difficult for Nigerians to know who would win the election.
Wilson’s words: “It really is not for me to determine or predict the outcome of this election. I’m a really interested observer and what I do see is that I’m looking at relatively low voter turnout and their last election.
“And just from the conversations that we’re having, we see a higher level of engagement, a higher level of interest, the fact that we’re less than 40 days away, and most Nigerians don’t know who’s going to win and they don’t . I don’t know if there will be a second round.
“We have seen a surge of young voters registered, I think in the last six months, INEC said that they had seen in the last period, that 70 percent of those registered were in the youth category. It’s quite dramatic, remarkable.
“So what I have learned over and over again is that even when democracies and elections are imperfect, elections become an opportunity for people to organize and express themselves. I have seen surprises time and time again and I don’t know what will happen.
“It’s a beautiful thing for Nigeria, the largest democracy in Africa, to go to an election and not know what’s going to happen. That is democracy and action. It’s exciting and we’re going to see this.
“I guess there are two things going on; one is the general security situation that has been difficult in the country, whether it’s due to insurgency or terrorism or just banditry, kidnapping, other sources of instability that you know very well.
“But the truth is that the 10,000 Nigerians who have died in recent years from security incidents, that’s extraordinarily high and creates a difficult environment where people feel safe enough to vote.
“What I was informed about the violence related to the elections, which is much less violence related to the elections, is serious because it is directed at the elections that we have seen political actors who have been, in some cases assassinated in other places, intimidated, INEC offices attacked and so on. what was really interesting about the briefings that we saw was that Nigerians are organizing to be able to track this down to document it to report it, to bring it to the authorities to see if the security forces are understanding where their efforts to intimidate and involvement were electoral four years ago, you can anticipate that today.
“So while this is a major issue, there is no question that I am listening to the Nigerians. I also see a lot of Nigerians focused on this issue of how can they really provide a greater sense of security, how can they be better prepared, how can they anticipate where there are problems.
“So ultimately this is going to be a problem for this election, but I’m hopeful it’s not going to be such a disruptive problem. That being said, anyone needs to feel safe to voice their vote. That is a sacrosanct act in any democracy.”