Canada scores Nigeria’s democracy high, to spend $5m on 2015 elections

Benin – The Canadian Government is satisfied with the level of Nigeria’s democratic governance and will spend $5 million in helping to conduct the 2015 general elections, an official has said.

The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Chris Cooter, disclosed this at an interactive session with the media and civil society groups on Sunday in Benin.

Cooter said the Canadian government was impressed with INEC’s conduct of the 2011 general elections and other subsequent elections in some states of the federation.

“We hope it will get better in 2015, and we have dedicated about $5 million dollars to that project.

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“We will be working with Prof. Attahiru Jega and INEC very closely to promote democracy in Nigeria,’’ he said.

The High Commissioner acknowledged that since his arrival in the country three years ago “Canada has seen great improvement in governance in your country.

“It does not mean we have to have a revolution. But it just means that there has to be a little more of transparency in governance and a bit more of good governance to make a difference in most peoples’ lives.

“It is never a straight path. But a path that requires lots of people working together. But I am confident that Nigeria will make lots of progress because we have had a great year with Nigeria.’’

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The ambassador however urged for a vibrant presence of civil society groups as “a guarantor of good governance.

“I think you are getting it right now. I have travelled to 29 of the 36 states and we can see the improved difference in governance’’.

Cooter said his country was building a foundation that would work with Nigeria “in a way that has never been done before.

“It is brand new. We are going to stand together and will also share our challenges together’’.

Earlier, the Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Rev. David Ugolor, had commended Cooter and his government’s interest in the democratic growth of Nigeria.

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Ugolor appealed to Canada to sustain its efforts of supporting civil society groups and other stakeholders in their quest to promote good democratic governance in Nigeria.(NAN)

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