The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday began extensive training for its staff on how to analyse, mitigate and manage the escalation of violence and conflict throughout election cycles.
The electoral umpire explained this is necessary in order to mitigate electoral violence whilst combating the challenges that come with the process.
The Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, addressed a workshop themed “Leadership and Conflict Management Skills for Electoral Stakeholders”, where he discussed this issue.
The workshop was organised by the European Union (EU) Support Democratic Governance in Nigeria, European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) and the European Union (EU) and it holds between October 23 and 27.
Yakubu was represented at the event by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Election and Party Monitoring Committee (EPMC), Antonia Okoosi-Simbine, said the nascent democracies in most developing countries often develop into chaos if not handled well.
The workshop, according to him, “is aimed at looking at ways in which representatives of electoral stakeholders can improve their leadership skills and take on board means for identifying, analysing, mitigating and managing the escalation of electoral violence and conflict throughout the respective electoral cycles”.
The chairman added that a cursory examination of the typical electoral cycle reveals that every phase is fraught with potential and real dangers.
Yakubu noted that an electoral cycle, which is a tool to visualise the various cyclical electoral components with different stakeholders interacting and influencing each other in each period, is now a veritable theatre of conflict.
He said: “So much contestation surrounds our elections with little or scant respect for rule of law and due process.
“It is also within this context that one notes that the target departments as this training, that is, Election and Party Monitoring (EPM) and ADR. EPM department deals directly with political parties who are almost permanently in conflict and crisis either from without (intra and inter-party conflict).
“It is in order to give an adequate attention and focus to the proper management of these conflicts that the political party complaints and liaison unit was created in EPM department,” Yakubu said.