The United Nations in Nigeria and members of the diplomatic community have restated their commitment to supporting Nigeria in ensuring peaceful, credible, and inclusive elections, even as concern was shown over the possible adverse effects on the forthcoming elections due to fuel scarcity, implementation challenges of the currency redesign and exchange process, and violence.
This commitment was given at the first quarterly briefing of the diplomatic community convened by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Matthias Schmale, at the UN House on Wednesday, 8 February 2023.
The UN Resident Coordinator underscored the importance of peaceful and credible elections for the consolidation of Nigeria’s democracy and that of the African region, and expressed concern on the possible adverse effects on the forthcoming elections of fuel scarcity, implementation challenges of the currency redesign and exchange process, and violence.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Schmale noted, had made some significant progress in preparing and administering elections, and “we need to acknowledge the significance of this. At the same time, INEC is facing some challenges for instance around logistics, power supply, employing and deploying the right personnel at the right time.”
The UN Resident Coordinator expressed concern about some strong statements of intolerance and hate speech across party lines in public space and urged all political parties and their candidates to exercise caution and to adhere to the terms of the peace accord they have signed.
On the UN Strategic Development Cooperation Framework signed with the government of Nigeria, Schmale explained that it was imperative for the UN to support the government in accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Schmale emphasised amongst other transformative initiatives, the importance of domestic resource mobilization, private sector investment and conducive business environment as critical success factors in moving the needle in achieving greater prosperity for all in Nigeria.
Speaking on climate change, the Resident Coordinator reaffirmed the reality of climate change and its impact in Nigeria and called on the international community to support accelerated climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
He added that: “Last year’s devastating flood episodes and the Cholera outbreak have shown that humanitarian crises are not limited to the North-East alone. Therefore, we need to support the government in addressing humanitarian challenges outside the North-East.”
Michael Olugbode in Abuja