A BRIDGE Train-the-Facilitator (TtF) workshop was held from 5-15 December 2011 in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria, for 26 staff members (14 females and 12 males) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This project is one of many interventions by the international community with a purpose of strengthening and promoting Democracy, Governance and Elections in Africa’s most populous country. This workshop was part of the series of post-election capacity development workshops that are planned as part of the training strategy of the (INEC). It was the second Train the Facilitator (TtF) programme to be conducted within a spate of three months. The first TtF in Nigeria was held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State from 19 – 29 October 2011.
Nigeria, in her 51st year of independence has had a chequered history of elections. Initially, Nigeria’s elections were adjudged to be deeply flawed but the last one held in April/May of 2011 was regarded by both international and local observer groups as being significantly better than previous polls held in Nigeria. It was unanimously viewed as having laid the foundation for the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria. The success of the poll led to the renewed interest of the donor community to offer to give technical support to the Independent National Electoral Commission in a bid to help strengthen the institution for better service delivery.
The project was organised by UNDP and funded by the Joint Donor Basket Fund comprising the UK Department for International Development (DFID), European Union (EU), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) programme.
One of the areas of technical assistance being offered INEC by UNDP-DGD is in the training of the Commission’s staff. The Commission with over 12,000 permanent staff, has currently produced a total of 50 Semi-Accredited BRIDGE Facilitators. INEC with over 12,000 permanent staff and efforts are being made to get more staff trained.
The second week of this TfT saw the start of a 5-day BRIDGE modular PDT training for INEC, which was organised by the Electoral Assistance Unit of the African Union Commission at the same venue, the Bolingo Hotel.