Alex Enumah in Abuja
The United States of America, through its Agency for International Development (USAID), has launched a $5.5million support programme aimed at helping political parties to adopt better governance practices and improve the quality of political discourse.
At the launch of the three-year â€˜Responsive Political Party Programmeâ€™ was the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington; International Republican Institute (IRI) President, Daniel Twining; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekeremadu, and more than 40 other prominent Nigerian politicians.
According to a statement from the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy in Abuja, the support programme is being implemented for USAID by IRI and Search for Common Ground.
â€œThe three-year $5.5 million Responsive Political Party Programme (RPPP) will help the major national political parties in Nigeria improve responsiveness to their constituents. It will also contribute to creating peaceful participation ahead of the upcoming elections,â€ the statement said.
Symington told the assembled politicians that â€œif you seek to be followedâ€¦ tell the story not only of what is wrong, but what you would do right for the future. And the greatest â€˜rightâ€™ you can do is to inspire your members to come together and make Nigeria a better country.â€
The activity promises to help parties contesting the upcoming elections to become more representative of the citizenry and improve the oversight of government programmes.
It also aims to increase the frequency and intensity of political party interactions with their constituents, improve communication among party officials, candidates, and officeholders at all levels and boost the participation of marginalised groups in political processes as well as within the parties themselves.
According to the statement, â€œThe RPPP will also help spread the message of peace and non-violence through the electoral process; determine early warning signs of electoral violence, and formulate strategies to mitigate potential violence through conflict assessment in conjunction with political parties and civil society organisations.
In his remark, Deputy Senate President, Ekeremadu stated: â€œWorking with IRI on this project, our parties will be stronger and more efficient, vibrant and responsive to the yearnings of Nigerians. â€œI assure you of the cooperation of the National Assembly towards the actualisation of this noble initiative.â€