United States-based election monitoring organisation, National Endowment for Democracy(NED) has said: While the 2023 election in Nigeria as “a consequential election,” the US agency commended Nigeria for the technology-driven electoral process and expressed optimism that the country would be the second largest democracy in the world in 2050.
The President and Chief Executive Officer of NED, Damon Wilson, stated this in a meeting convened by Yiaga Africa to interact with other stakeholders on preparations for the 2023 general elections.
According to Sunday PUNCH, NED, a private, non-profit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world, was established in 1983 by the American Congress for the promotion of world democracy.
Each year, NED gives over 2,000 grants to support the projects of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals in more than 100 countries.
Wilson said, “Nigeria is the fifth largest democracy in the world; it is on track that by 2050 to be the second largest democracy in the world, even bigger than the United States. But it has got a consequential election coming up in less than 40 days, building on seven elections since the transition. And we have seen in this time a Nigerian democracy that has ousted incumbents, where term limits have been enforced, peaceful transitions have taken place and now we have seen a country that is poised to have a more technically effective election that has bolstered the authority, the Independent National Electoral Commission, that is tapping technologies to help ensure greater credibility to vote at a time around the world, where things are kind of tough for democracy and elections in a lot of places are heading to roadblocks. Nigeria is offering an example of a world of progress and momentum. There is a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm and we are looking to understand that to learn from that and to see how we can help support that.”
He also pointed out that his organisation was not coming to predict who would win the elections or whether there would be a run-off.
Wilson, however, expressed concern over low voter turnouts during elections in Nigeria.
We have seen a surge of young voters being registered, I think in the last six months, INEC said they had seen in the last period, it was 70 per cent of those being registered were under the youth category. It’s pretty dramatic, remarkable.
He added that Nigeria’s democracy was really evolving dramatically.