How NIPSS plans to boost Nigeria’s democracy, by DG

• UNDP backs institute in developing parties

SPURRED by the need to strengthen the nation’s democracy, the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) has set up a centre for developing political parties in Kuru, Plateau State, according to the Director-General of the institute. The “Political Party Leadership and Policy Development Centre” is being facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It will be commissioned by Vice President Namadi Sambo on June 26 in Kuru, Plateau State.

The Director-General of the NIPSS, Prof. Tijjani Muhammadu-Bande, who leads an eighth-man team comprising six officials from the institute, one civil society chief executive and a senior journalist on a study tour of the United States (U.S.), told The Guardian in the U.S. why the institute was setting up a centre for the development of political parties in Nigeria. The former Vice Chancellor of the Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, said the need to assist the development of policy for political parties had become urgent as part of the transformation of the democratic processes in Nigeria.

His words: “We are persuaded that (political) party system is one of the weakest links we have to strengthen in a structured manner in our country. Despite Nigeria’s progress in electoral democracy since 1999, with four successive elections and peaceful transfer of the reins of power from one civilian regime to another, there are challenges to the consolidation of democracy…

“So, the proposed ‘Political Party Leadership and Policy Development Centre’ is conceived as a capacity-building and resource centre to address issues of capacity development for political parties, strengthen their capacity for policy dialogue, conflict management, media outreach and democratic initiatives on women and youth issues with the overall goal of enhancing the democratic quality of political parties and their engagement with the wider political process.

“It will target party leadership, and critical sections of the membership such as women and youths and will draw from international best practices in party support programmes and curricula development around the world building on the convening power of NIPSS and its national and global networks in matters relating to policy development and dialogue over the years.”


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