By Nathaniel Gana
16th May, 2018
Preparations for the 2019 General Elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) intensified yesterday in Abuja as Directors at its headquarters began a five-day Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) Training.
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 organizations in the democracy and governance field, developed the comprehensive curriculum.
Leveraging on the collaboration, the TEI and the International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES) had, in 2016, developed a BRIDGE Training Plan specifically for the Commission, leading to the coaching of Administrative Secretaries (AS) and Heads of Electoral Operations Departments in the states.
Declaring the workshop open, the Chairman, Board of the TEI, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu observed that as the countdown to 2019 General Elections draws near, with Ekiti and Osun governorships elections just a few months away, the Commission has been taking deliberate steps to establish best practices in its processes and procedures.
Represented by National Commissioner, Air Vice Marshal (retired) Ahmad Mua’zu, 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.”
Ibeanu 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.”
Explaining the background on how the training was designed, he said: “Series of consultations were made with the Electoral Institute on the type of training that will be suitable for Directors and the BRIDGE Professional development training was chosen. BRIDGE curriculum is robust and comprehensive. The methodology of delivery is adult friendly and highly participatory. At the end of the training, you will notice that there will be no dull moment because the BRIDGE methodology is activity driven. Hopefully, the training will address some of the burning issues agitating our minds in line with the Commission’s mission, objectives and organizational goals.”
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 explained, “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.”
The outcomes of the training, according him, include:
and efficient manner in the preparation of upcoming Ekiti and Osun
Governorship elections and subsequently 2019 General elections.
their work in an effective manner
good electoral administration.
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 forth coming elections and from a more professional stand point.
“It is our hope that fallouts from the workshop will enhance the performance of the Commission and professionalism of its staff in the 2019 general elections as we keep working with you and supporting the Commissions efforts to sustain the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria”, he added.