Today at the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield lead a U.S. delegation to meet with delegates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). The group is deliberating on issues of good governance, transparency, and integrity as Nigeria progresses toward general elections in February 2015.
The Governance, Transparency, and Integrity Working Group is expected to look toward the continued integration of civil society into the electoral process prior to the 2015 national elections, which will mark another milestone building upon Nigeria’s last elections. One aim of the Binational Commission (BNC), according to Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield, is to support the establishment of benchmarks for transparent and inclusive elections.
Participants in the commission’s meeting included Martin Uhomoibhi, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Abdullahi Yola, solicitor-general of the federation and permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Professor Attahiru Jega, chairman of INEC, Ibrahim Lamorde, chairman of the EFCC, and Ekpo Nta, chairman of the ICPC. Others were U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle and Nigerian Ambassador to the United States Professor Ade Adefuye.
The group will discuss governance issues, corruption—a potential impediment to effective governance—and economic development in Nigeria.
The U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission was inaugurated on April 6, 2010 in Washington, D.C. by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Yayale Ahmed. The commission allows for dialogue and strategic thinking designed to expand mutual cooperation across a broad range of shared interests. It is also a collaborative forum to build partnerships for tangible and measurable progress on issues critical to the United States and Nigeria.