Canada: Nigeria’s Democratic System Needs to be Strengthened

Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Philip Baker,

The Canadian High Commission has called for the strengthening of Nigeria’s democratic practices.

The call comes after the 2019 general election, which some international and domestic observers say was fraught with “systemic failings” especially with regards to logistics and security.

The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Philip Baker, however, noted that the process was credible, while also congratulating President Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election.

“Despite logistical challenges as well as reports of isolated irregularities and violence, we note that domestic and international observers have found that the overall result was credible,” Baker said.

The keenly contested Presidential election was held across the country on February 23, 2019.

Following the exercise, however, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and closest rival to Muhammadu Buhari – Atiku Abubakar – challenged the outcome in court after the APC candidate won the election with a margin of nearly four million votes.

The governorship and state assembly elections, on the other hand, took place on March 9, in 29 states across the federation.

Elections in six states – Adamawa, Benue, Bauchi, Sokoto, Plateau and Kano – were, however, declared inconclusive and consequently, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rescheduled the elections to Match 23, 2019.

Baker noted that the rescheduled polls would be an opportunity to perfect the loopholes observed in previous elections.

“Moving forward, we note the importance of strengthening democratic practices, especially in the lead-up to rerun elections in states with inconclusive official results.

“Canada remains committed to supporting good governance and the rule of law in Nigeria. We recognize the importance of free and fair elections and independent democratic institutions to ensuring that citizens are able to participate meaningfully in a strong and healthy democracy,” he added