By Nwajei Kanayo, Communications Adviser to NILS.
As part of efforts to address the institutional capacity needs of stakeholders in Nigeria’s democracy, a comprehensive programme on capacity development for political actors across democratic divide of the Legislature and executive has been presented by the Governing Council of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).
The presentation which was made by Hon. Aminu Shehu Shagari, on behalf of other Members of the Governing Council of NILDS was described by many as a defining moment for the Institute. This followed the signing into law of the National Institute for Legislative Studies amendment Act 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Hon. Shagari who was speaking at the joint news briefing as Chairman of the Steering Committte for the development of a strategic plan for NILS engagement with political office holders commended the Leadership of the National Assembly for fast-tracking the passage and signing of the NILDS Act 2018. He said this will greatly help to deepen Nigeria’s democracy.
“In line with its new mandate, the Institute has developed programmes that are tailored towards deepening of democratic governance in Nigeria. Topics such as: election observation, election management, institution building of political parties and effective party management; the Role of security agencies in the forthcoming general elections ; high turnover of members in the legislature; alternative funding sources for political parties; and the question of internal party democracy; independent candidature; revisiting card reader and electronic report of elections; diaspora voting among others are scheduled for discussions with stakeholders”.
It would be recalled that the Steering Committee for the development of a strategic plan for NILS engagement with political office holders had in the last few months carried out extensive engagement with the media, civil society organizations as well as most political parties to get their buy-in into how the nation can strengthen its democratic processes.
Speaking during the public presentation of the NILDS Amendment Act 2018, the Director General of the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS ), Prof. Ladi Hamalai, MFR said the amendment of NILS Act 2011 to NILDS Act 2018 and change of name will make the Institute “gain acceptability by the wider political class and sharpen some of its functions to stamp NILDS as the core center for capacity building in democratic governance”.
She added that the new status would enable the Institute to implement more efficiently, her programmes while putting additional value to democratic governance in Nigeria.
Challenging the media to take advantage of the various capacity enhancement programmes offered by NILDS post graduate school, she enjoined the political class to devote more time to capacity development as critical actors in the democratic process.
She, assured that NILDS will redouble its efforts to continue to act as a centre of excellence for continuing education on democracy and legislation.