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Workshop prepares INEC directors for 2019 polls


Peparations for the 2019 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been intensified in Abuja as directors at its headquarters yesterday began a five-day Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections Training (BRIDGE).

The modular professional development programme, which focuses on electoral processes, is designed to improve the directors’ respective leadership capacities and reinforce previously acquired skills to enable them discharge their duties more effectively.

The commission’s intellectual powerhouse, the Electoral Institute (TEI), in conjunction with five international organisations in the democracy and governance field, developed the comprehensive curriculum.

Chairman, Board of the TEI, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, who declared the workshop open, represented by National Commissioner, Air Vice Marshal Ahmad Mua’zu (rtd), said as the countdown to 2019 general elections draws nearer, with Ekiti and Osun governorship elections just a few months away, the commission had been taking deliberate steps to establish best practices in its processes and procedures.

Ibeanu noted that the commission also developed a plethora of institutional mechanisms, such as the Election Project Plan (EPP), Strategic Plan, Gender Policy, Communication Policy and the recent integration of the EOSC, EMS, ERM and EVMAT into one platform called the Election Management Support Centre (EMSC). But all these resources, he averred, “can only be managed by well-informed practitioners, hence this training.”

He, therefore, urged the participants to take every opportunity created by the commission to improve their electoral knowledge as a step in the right direction since “INEC, as presently constituted, is leveraging on knowledge and skills to conduct its affairs.”

Also, the Acting Director-General of the TEI, Dr. Sa’ad Idris, described the BRIDGE as “the most comprehensive professional development course available in election administration”, which he further said, “aims to improve the skills, knowledge and confidence of not only election professionals, but also of key stakeholders in the electoral process.”

He said the objective of the training was to strengthen the “long-term capacities of directors to effectively deal with the management of the conduct of elections and the administration of the commission’s workforce in line with global best practices.”

In his goodwill message, the Country Director of IFES, Mr. Shalva Kipshidze, said: “Ahead of the 2019 general elections, it is of utmost importance that the leadership of the commission takes out time to undergo the BRIDGE training for better effectiveness in the conduct of the forthcoming elections and from a more professional stand point.”

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INECOkechukwu Ibeanu
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