Supporters rides in a campaign bus of Nigeria's leading opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate Mohammadu Buhari and his unning mate Yemi Osinbajo in Lagos on January 24, 2015. Unknown gunmen stormed and bombed the site of a ~ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
Abuja - The UN Secretary-General High
Level Representative to Nigeria, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, said the United
Nations (UN) had provided 60 million dollars, about N1.2 billion, to ensure the
success of Nigeria's 2015 general elections.
Chambas disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on
He said the UN was interested in Nigeria’s elections because
''the country is too important for the sub-region, the region and the world at
Chambas explained that the UN had been involved in building
institutions and capacity that were required for the elections.
"Several months even before this election, the UN deployed
a Needs Assessment Mission and based on that needs assessment mission, certain
areas were identified by INEC in particular.
"But also by National Human Rights Commission and many
civil society organisations as to where they could benefit from institutional
strengthening and human resource capacity building.
"We then came up with a budget which amounted to almost 60
million U.S. Dollars.
"This was mobilised for members-states and other
international organisations and has been provided to Nigerian various
institutions and organisations in the process of preparing towards this election.
Also read: UN urges Nigeria to conduct credible polls
"So that is the kind of ongoing work that the UN does
throughout the period.
"And this has been the specific contributions that the UN
has made and the UNDP managed this basket of funds that was collected.
"And I should say that one particular intervention that I
am personally proud of is the creation of the National Peace Council which was
an initiative out of the UN.
"To get a group of Nigerian eminent personalities and
respected citizens to come together and to lead the clarion call for peaceful,
"So, it is out of this peace council that we have seen, for
instance, the two leading candidates, Mr President and General Buhari
re-affirming their commitment to the Abuja Accord.
"Which itself is a product of the work of the UN through
the former Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, other prominent Nigerians such as
Prof Gambari through his Savannah Institute, Bishop Matthew Kukah through the
"UNDP was very instrumental in working with them, in
bringing on board other partners which culminated in the establishment of the
National Peace Council.”
He said that the UN’s interest in the election was borne out
of the strategic importance and value of Nigeria.
"Even at the United Nations, Nigeria is a member of the
Security Council. Nigeria on the African continent, is a natural leader
providing leadership in the past and present on the issuer of peace and
"On economic issue, Nigeria is the biggest economy in
Africa. Politically, Nigeria is acknowledged leader.
"So for all these reasons, and of course, Nigeria is also
the largest democracy in Africa and definitely one of the largest democracies
in this world.
"It is for this reason that the United Nations is
particularly interested in this election and wants to be of help.
He said the UN was trying to be of constructive value to
Nigeria in ensuring peaceful, credible elections.
He said the organisation had been working with all Nigerian
stakeholders, the leadership of political parties, the civil society
organisations, among others.
The UN representative urged all Nigerians to be mindful of
the burden and responsibility they carry, adding, "we all want to see a
strong, stable, peaceful Nigeria”.