CEM REPORT, ELECTION | The Ford Foundation has donated the sum of USD1.7 million to Nigeria to support the conduct of the 2023 election.
Regional Director of Ford Foundation Chichi Anyagolum Okoye said this Thursday at the 6th Annual Conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), which took place in Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja.
Though Electioneering is not the primary focus for Ford Foundation, the organization has found it necessary to support Nigerian election considering the position Nigeria occupy in African democracy and political stability.
In an interview with continental Economy Magazine, Chichi said the grant is meant to support civil society organizations that are working closely with the Independent National Electoral Commission in the discharge of critical duties that will improve operations in the forth-coming elections. These duties include logistics, collection of PVCs and general information dissemination
“We are supporting logistics, helping through action aid in line with the program held a few days ago to help INEC improve their logistics and making sure the electioneering logistics is well done. As you know, logistics is at the heart of elections and that has been one of the major challenges over time.
“We are also supporting PVC collection through provision of information and helping to streamline and organize the collection process.
“General information dissemination is also key and we are equally supporting INEC in information dissemination just the way we had advocated for voters registration to enable them participate in the elections.
According to Chichi, Ford Foundation is a private American Foundation and one of the largest in the world with over $100 billion. It has offices in over 100 countries. In West Africa, the Foundation is interested in two areas which are gender based violence and natural resources/climate change
Earlier in her speech, Anyagolum spoke passionately about what election mean for us as a nation, the need to elect people that will build Nigeria not just trying to get party members or kinsmen into elective positions.
She said; “For me, it is the essence of democracy to have credible elections. We have to remember why we are doing this, though I know poverty has been weaponized in Nigeria, therefore many people are not able to see the bigger picture anymore. We need to recognize that the reason for having elections is because we want to elect leaders. It’s not just a game of numbers, it is about knowing that the person that will lead us in the next 4 or 8 years as the case may be will either make or mar this country.
“Election is about electing a leader we can be proud of, it’s about getting back our dignity as a people, as a nation and as giant of Africa.
“Currently, Nigeria is at the very bottom. It is time for people to think beyond themselves and begin to think seriously about electing a leader to take us out of this level.
“Many of us are looking to leave this country and go to other countries. Those countries we are going to are neither led by someone from our constituency, someone from our state, someone from our religion nor someone from our local government. But we are able to benefit from those countries because they are working
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“So we are able to come all the way from Africa and get scholarship, a job or an appointment and we are proud of that without thinking how we are able to get a job in a country from someone that is not from our state, our local government or our religion.”
She affirmed that “democracy is still the best form of government, those who leave under anarchy can possibly tell the difference.”
Chichi applauded INEC for having the courage to pass the Electoral Bill. It is a quantum leap towards what we can achieve from elections. Being able to put it together and making sure it’s now a law is a mighty achievement.