The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Monday in Kaduna opened a three-day workshop for electoral officers responsible for monitoring elections and political parties.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that INEC is being supported by the European Centre for Electoral Support, ECES, to train the staff on Party Management and Administration ahead of 2023 polls.
Aminu Idris, INEC’s Director, Election and Party Monitoring said at the opening of the workshop that, the participants were drawn from INEC offices in the 19 Northern states.
Idris said the workshop was to build the capacity of the staffs to effectively monitor political parties to improve the electoral process ahead of 2023 general polls.
He noted that proper monitoring of the activities of political parties, including congresses and primaries, would minimize litigation and internal crisis.
The director said the participants would be introduced to new techniques for monitoring of political parties for a smooth electoral process in 2023.
Sylvestre Somo, ECES Senior Project Officer, in a goodwill message, said that the workshop would improve the skills of INEC staff in monitoring election and political parties, to enhance the electoral process.
He said ECES promotes sustainable democratic development through the provision of advisory services, operational support and management of electoral and democracy processes across Asia, Middle East and Africa.
Mr Somo, through the European Union Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EUSDGN), has been supporting INEC to deliver on its mandate of improving Nigeria’s electoral process.
“The workshop which seeks to improve the skills of the staff of election and party monitoring department of INEC in political management, is another major step towards improving the Nigeria electoral process,” he added.
He noted that political parties, being primary stakeholders in the electoral process with the constitutional power to present candidates for elective offices and solicit votes during elections, needed to be monitored and be guided to ensure transparency.
“Political parties and candidates are expected to adhere to all the electoral procedures and laws, including the electoral code of conduct in order to reinforce the transparency and integrity of the electoral process.
“Hence, the need to effectively monitor the parties and exercise required oversight functions as prescribed in the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
“It is therefore a matter of consolation that this workshop has been put together to strengthen the capacity of the EMB staffs in political parties management and administration.
“It is our hope that the knowledge to be gained at this workshop will help in repositioning political parties to play effectively their role and contribute to the integrity and fairness of the electoral process,” Somo added.
According to him, this will be in fulfilment of visionary statement of Rev. Apollinaire Ma’ imalu, Co-founder of ECES who said “the good collaboration between EMB and political parties can transform the elections into a celebration of choices rather than drama.”
Mr Somo said with the wide range of topics slated for presentation at the workshop and the caliber of participants and resource persons, he was confident that the noble objectives of the workshop would be achieved.
“I wish to commend INEC for taking this bold initiative of putting in place this workshop especially at the crucial time when preparations for the 2023 elections will begin in earnest.
“I also wish to thank the European Union Delegation for consistent support to the activities of ECES in Nigeria within the scope of the EUSDGN,” Mr Somo said.
Meanwhile, INEC Acting Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Kaduna State, Awwal Mashi assured that the resource persons at the event would bring in new skills for better management of political parties.
Mr Mashi, also the Commission’s Administrative Secretary in the state, noted that the objective was to sharpen the skills of staffs in party management, to improve on the achievements recorded during the 2019 general polls.