President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed the willingness of the Federal Government to partner with relevant stakeholders towards achieving a transparent national second peer review process of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
The president stated this when he received a team from AU-APRM led by Sen. Abba Ali, the Chairman, National Governing Council (NGC), APRM Nigeria, at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday.
Buhari pledged that Nigeria, through the APRM Nigeria Secretariat, would organise a participatory and transparent national process for self-assessment and country review.
According to him, the federal government will partner with states, local governments and the private sector in the process aimed at entrenching good governance, democracy and inclusive development among participating African countries.
”Nigeria will also provide all the necessary and required support to the Country Secretariat of the APRM in accordance with the recommendation of the Forum of Heads of State and Governments of the AU,” he said.
Buhari welcomed the remarks of the leader of the delegation acknowledging Nigeria’s significant progress in the ideals and shared values of good governance and accountability which are at the heart of APRM.
He said: ”Since its inception, this government has further pursued with vigour programmes that promote democratic values, participatory governance and probity in public life.
”We introduced policies, programmes and projects that focus on creating an inclusive and diversified economy, eliminating corruption and restoring peace to conflict areas.
”Since our decision to establish the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) here in Nigeria, government has been implementing programmes and policies that focus on the domestication of the AUDA reforms.
”We constituted a Repositioning Committee on AUDA whose terms of reference are to restructure and reposition NEPAD, taking into account our local laws and regulations to AUDA.’’
The president added that pertinent to the current mission to Nigeria and in accordance with the guidelines of the Peer Review, a 15-member Nigerian National Governing Council (NGC) of the APRM had been constituted and inaugurated.
Sen. Ali said the second review process has commenced in Nigeria and would be concluded in August.
”The second Review has become a necessity due to the fact that our last Review was conducted in 2008.
“The goal is to promote, strengthen and increase the effectiveness of governance standards and socio-economic development in the country,” he said.
According to the NGC Chairman, the APRM has four thematic areas; namely democracy and political governance; economic governance and management; corporate governance and socio-economic development.
The lead panel member in-charge of Nigeria, Amb. Omar Mona of Egypt, said since the first review in 2008, Nigeria has submitted two progress reports on the implementation of the National Action Plan, paving the way for the preparation of the second cycle of review.
”We are pleased that the country has implemented and addressed most of the Panel’s recommendations made in the first review report.
”For instance, the country has made reforms in the electoral system including strengthening of the independence and capacity of electoral management bodies,” she said.
The lead panel member also commended Nigeria for the legislative amendment to the Constitution to clarify the provisions for orderly succession and dealing with temporary absence of elected executives, among others.
Mona further told Buhari that the Panel of Eminent Persons of the APRM was in Nigeria to participate in the sensitisation mission, ahead of the second cycle of the APRM review process of the country.