From March 4 – 8, 2013 organizing secretaries of 23 Nigerian political parties as well as 3 staff from the Nigerian electoral commission (INEC) gathered in Lagos, Nigeria, to discuss the roles, responsibilities and challenges of electoral contestants in the electoral process. The training was part of a series of BRIDGE trainings the UNDP has been organizing in Nigeria under the Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) program.The project is jointly financed by the European Union, the UK Department for International Cooperation, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Korean International Cooperation Agency and UNDP.
As Nigeria is preparing for local government & gubernatorial elections in 2013, as well as general elections in 2015, Nigerian political parties will be playing a critical role in ensuring that these electoral contests are conducted in a peaceful and professional manner. For these reasons, this BRIDGE workshop was conducted 1) to improve the democratic functioning of Nigerian political parties; 2) professionalizing their administration; 3) strengthening inter-party dialogue and; d) enabling political parties to effectively engage in the electoral process.
The training was a unique opportunity for Nigerian political parties to understand their respective platforms and formulate strategies to identify and explore their comparative advantages. In addition, the workshop helped Nigerian political parties to reflect on their vision, their internal functioning and long-term strategy as a party. Towards the end of the training, participants were able, as a group, to lay the strategical and operational groundwork for the design of an effective political campaign.
Sessions covered throughout the training included:
• Electoral systems and political parties
• Contestant guiding principles
• Party registration
• Internal party functioning
• Candidate nomination
• Campaign finance
• Media in political campaign
The training was facilitated by:
Ms. Kamissa Camara, Expert BRIDGE trainer and Lead Facilitator – UNDP Consultant;
Ms. Tomsie Dlamini, Accrediting BRIDGE trainer – UNDP Consultant;
Mr. Chuta Chijindu Ihekoromadu & Ms. Helen Ogundana, Semi-Accredited Facilitator, both working for the Nigerian Electoral Commission (INEC).
At the end of the training, participants expressed their sincere thanks, gratitude and appreciation for such an opportunity:
“BRIDGE has given me strength and courage. When I go back to my party, I will be ready to do more.” Augustine A. Aduba, Alliance for Democracy Party.
“We came to this room and became one family, irrespective of our political affiliations. We thank UNDP for making this happen.” Okey Nnaedozie, PDP.