The European Union on Saturday said it had spent over €100m from 1999 to date to ensure free and transparent election processes in Nigeria.
The Electoral Administration and Communications Expert in European Centre for Electoral Support, Manji Wilson, who spoke on the issue, said despite the donations, the EU did not have any special interest in any candidate of any political party.
According to him, the EU has also offered support in other areas of human endeavours such as health, education, justice, human trafficking, and irregular migration.
Manji spoke in Abuja while delivering a paper entitled: “An overview of the European Union support for democratic governance in Nigeria: Gains and lessons learnt”, during a capacity building workshop for journalists.
The event was jointly organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission, ECES, European Union and European Union Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria.
Manji said, “Similar amount of money has been given to other sectors but I can’t give you the accurate figure now. The EU is supporting the conduct of the election in Nigeria because as a member of the international community that signed several treaties, it behoves on the EU to provide such support.”
He also spoke on the treatment being given to Nigerian youths by political parties through unnecessary discouragement and higher fees.
“Over 1,000 of them across the country indicated interest to contest the 2019 general elections,” he said, adding, however, that many of those who showed interest could not contest because of the exorbitant price of the expression of interest and nomination forms.
Manji said, “At the end of the party primaries, about 218 young persons got the nominations of the political parties. I won’t say whether the major or minor political parties were involved.
“But it is quite significant that as many as those that indicated interest could not afford the price for the nomination forms and could not be nominated; 18 of those that were nominated by the parties are women while the rest are men.”
In his paper entitled: “Pitfalls of Election Reporting”, the Chairman, Editorial Board of Daily Trust Newspapers, Mahmud Jega, said, “The worst it could get was governors seizing radio stations to announce election results in 1983.”
Speaking on the golden rule of journalism, Jega said, “Accuracy is more important than speed, often breached by reporters and newspaper websites. A journalist must verify information; you can be misled or even betrayed by ‘an authoritative’ or ‘reliable source.”