By Chinwe Ogbuka, Assistant Director, Publicity
As part of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC’s) efforts to create a peaceful atmosphere for the conduct of the Osun State Governorship election on September 22, the Electoral Institute (TEI), the training and research arm of the Commission recently organised a workshop on Election Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tools (EVMAT) Methodology for field officers in Osun state.
Participants at the workshop, which was aimed at ensuring a violence free election in the state include the National Commissioner supervising Osun, Oyo and Ekiti states, Prince Solomon Soyebi and National Commissioner in charge of Operations and Logistics, Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari.
In a goodwill message, Osun state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Olusegun Agbaje said that the workshop was coming at a time when the Commission “is working very hard towards creating a very peaceful atmosphere for the conduct of a free, fair, credible and acceptable election in Osun State.”
He added: “And there is no doubt that at the end, participants would have been better equipped with the wherewithal for effective violence mitigation and advocacy during the election.”
Agbaje averred that the Commission’s determination not to leave anything to chance made the workshop immensely imperative. He appealed to participants to internalise the knowledge acquired at the end of the workshop and put it into proper use to strengthen the Commission’s several ongoing efforts geared towards creating a peaceful atmosphere for the Governorship election, in line with global best practices.
The REC also enjoined fieldworkers to participate actively, listen attentively and ask questions in areas that are unclear to them.
He reminded them that the task of conducting the governorship election on September 22 “is a task that must be done properly in a free, fair, credible, conclusive and acceptable manner.
The REC commended TEI for its capacity building efforts geared towards the improvement of the Commission.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Acting Director-General of TEI, Dr. Sa’ad Umar Idris said that the methodology workshop was designed to equip the participants with requisite skill sets to effectively administer the EVMAT instruments in various local government areas of the state.
He said the standardized EVMAT tool offers unique opportunities for all stakeholders in the electoral process to effectively prevent and mitigate election violence. According to him, the instrument possesses higher predictive power that could help identify main risk factors through early warning that may inform proactive response.
He disclosed that in recent past, the Commission had deployed the EVMAT instrument in a bid to test the pulse of various players, in order to accurately predict and advise on actions to be taken by those responsible for securing elections.
According to acting DG, the effective application of the instrument, would determine the level of accuracy of report and risk factor mapping emanating therefrom, adding that field workers have to be trained to professionally administer the instrument.
He noted that participants have been carefully selected to receive proper training before being deployed to the various LGAs to administer the instrument, which would be analysed and coded by a data analyst.
Dr. Sa’ad stated that successful risk mapping could only be achieved using accurate data. He urged participants to take the workshop seriously as the Commission was committed to conducting the Osun State Governorship Election in a secure environment.