EU Selects Abia Among States to Enhance Good Governance with LoRAC Programme

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia

Abia State has been included by the  International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International Idea) among the seven states that would participate in the second phase Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption(RoLAC) Programme.

The programme funded by the European Union (EU) is run by the International Idea, an intergovernmental organisation headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, with 35 countries as members, has a mandate to support sustainable democracy worldwide.

Head of Programme of the organisation in Nigeria, Mr. Danladi Plang, made known the choice of Abia as focal state for the Phase II of the programme when he led a team of EU partners on a working visit Abia State Governor, Mr. Alex Otti.

He told Otti that Abia was chosen, “following internal conversations at the EU and what has been said about the reforms that are taking place in Abia State.”

According to a press release by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kazie Uko, Plang, who came with his team on Monday, said that five focal states had participated in the phase I of the programme, which started in 2017 and ended last year.

But Plang said the programme has been extended for another five years with Abia and Plateau States were selected to join Lagos, Anambra, Edo, Kano and Adamawa states for the Phase II(of the RoLAC programme), beginning this year.

He commended Otti for his leadership qualities, saying, “for us, it confirms what has been said about Abia” since he assumed office, adding that his team was in Abia “to seek your support and cooperation as we begin this project.”

“It is a testament to the good work that you’re doing and also a testament to the fact that the people of Abia State did not make a mistake in electing you, seeing the support that is coming from the other development partners,” Plang said.

He noted that “nobody wants to be associated with failure, so it’s also in our own interest that we’re associated with the success that Abia State is recording through your leadership.”

The Head of Programme stated that most times politicians concentrate on physical infrastructures like building of roads, hospitals while neglecting those intangible things that promote good governance such as efficient justice system.

However, he said that he has every reason to believe that “there will be sufficient interest shown by (Otti’s) leadership for issues of justice(given) the interest that has been shown by members of your cabinet that we had met before now.”

Plang, explained that the RoLAC programme aims at contributing to the consolidation of rule of law and good governance reforms within participating countries or states with specific objective to help improve the justice and anti-corruption systems.

With the programme the International Idea hopes to enhance the performance, quality and oversight of the criminal justice system and justice services delivery of participating states; improve access to justice for vulnerable groups.

It would also increase transparency and accountability in anti-corruption systems and reforms through support to anti-corruption agencies, improve public procurement, reinforce complaints mechanisms, and enhance civil society and citizen participation.

Otti, who thanked Plang and his team for their visit and for choosing Abia as one of the focal states for the programme in Nigeria, pedged his government’s support to make RoLAC programme succeed in Abia.

He said though Abia had recorded significant progress from where his administration met it, the state was still far from what he had envisioned as so much remain to be done.

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