Senator Ben Obi
The Canadian Parliamentary Centre will be opened in Nigeria soon to afford Nigeria an opportunity to learn from Canada’s experience of a robust electoral process.
While speaking at a press briefing Monday in Abuja at the Canadian High Commission, Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Inter Party Affairs, Senator Ben Obi, said the centre has been replicated in about 40 places in Africa and wondered why Nigeria is not benefiting from such centre.
Obi said: “I discovered this when I met with Canadian High Commissioner and I felt Nigeria should benefit in terms of capacity building since many countries are already enjoying the centre in Africa.”
Reacting to Obi’s comments, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Parliamentary Centre in Canada, Mr. Jean-Paul Ruszkowski stated that the centre supports legislatures around the world to build their capacity and strengthen parliamentary democracy.
He said Nigeria was going to benefit from the centre adding:”The Parliamentary Centre is a Canadian not-for-profit, non-partisan organisation that supports parliaments around the world. Our assessment, strategic planning and training programmes, combined with research products and networking channels help legislatures measure their performance, build capacity, tackle key issues and promote mutual learning. In short – we help legislatures better serve their people.”
Ruszkowski further said that the centre believe that all citizens have a right to participate meaningfully through democracy, and that effective parliaments are crucial to governance and sustainable development.
“We are committed to continuous learning and providing support that respects the historical, cultural and political uniqueness of countries while fostering greater transparency and accountability in government.”
In the case of Nigeria, he said area where Nigeria need remedy in term of electoral process would be identified to forestall continuous condemnation of the processes as well as build confidence of the citizenry on the process.
Accordingly, Ruszkowski is expected to meet with some party and government officials as well as other stakeholders after which the time for the setting up of the centre would be determined.