Peace and Democratic Governance
Governing Justly and Democratically
|USAID sponsored Disability Conference in Abuja, Nigeria|
At all levels of governance, there are many roadblocks to a strong democracy in Nigeria. Conflict, triggered by political competition and communal, ethnic, religious, or resource allocation rivalries, poses a major threat to democracy. Corruption is a key problem that pervades the daily lives of Nigerians. Civil society lacks both the capacity and the resources to effectively engage with government and advocate for change. Government institutions have not established meaningful partnerships with citizens or the private sector and lack the capacity to carry out their own mandates.
Among the most significant governance challenges facing Nigeria is the dominance of its politics by an oligarchy – a small elite spread across the country – which excludes the majority of Nigerians from civic participation. The incumbent administration has not fully implemented electoral reforms to which it had committed and the possibility of another national election debacle in 2011 as with the 2007 election is a possibility. In addition, the increasing militarization of politics nationwide raises growing concern that political conflict will become ever more violent, surging beyond the control of national and local government. These negative trends are occurring in the context of poor social and economic indicators across the country. These conditions undermine the public’s ability to engage the democratic process at the minimal levels required for the system to flourish.
Governing Justly and Democratically Strategy:
USAID/Nigeria supports federal courts, including the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal, to promote rule of law. These institutions have already shown a willingness to reform and to operate effectively and transparently. USAID/Nigeria works to improve governance by engaging with state and local governments, as well as civil society and private sector stakeholders. Approaches include building the capacity of key government agencies to plan, budget, track, manage, and evaluate their fiscal and administrative responsibilities; reinforcing policies and systems that improve transparency; mobilizing civil society and the private sector to participate in community planning and budgeting, monitor financial flows, and assess the quality of services rendered; and assisting civil society organizations to hold elected officials accountable. USAID/Nigeria will work to ensure credible national elections in 2011 by helping political parties to build coalitions, providing and training domestic and international observers, civic education, political party strengthening, and parallel vote tabulation. Assistance also includes strengthening Nigeria’s electoral commission to develop a new voters’ register and to plan and execute the 2011 elections. USAID/Nigeria will provide capacity building and support civic advocacy and media professionalism, focusing on membership organizations and larger civil society groups as targets for advocacy work, particularly on anti-corruption reforms. In conflict mitigation, USAID/Nigeria will promote stronger and broader collaboration between government and civil society to reduce sources of communal tension and violence in selected States and build robust conflict early-warning systems.
Leadership, Empowerment Advocacy and Development (LEAD)
Life of Project: 2009 – 2014
Implementing Partner: Research Triangle Institute
Geographic Focus: Bauchi and Sokoto States
Media Support for Strengthening Advocacy, Good Governance and Empowerment (MESSAGE)
Life of Project: 2009 – 2012
Implementing Partner: BBC World Service Trust
Geographic Focus: Nationwide
Advocacy, Awareness and Civic Empowerment (ADVANCE)
Life of Project: 2005 – 2011
Implementing Partner: Pact (Inc.)
Geographic Focus: Nationwide
- Increased capacity for civic advocacy, monitoring and engagement
- Enhanced credibility of elections
- Responsive governance at state and local levels
- Conflict mitigated among at-risk communities