Bridge Training

Within the context of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria programme, the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), on Monday in Lagos, commenced a one-week training of electoral officers on BRIDGE training on “Gender and Elections” for the Gender desk officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
 “BRIDGE” stands for Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections.

Hon. National Commissioner, Dr Adekunle Ogunmola, INEC’s Chairman of Outreach and Partnership Committee, said that “This course is aimed at equipping our desk officers with the capacity to carry out their duties of gender mainstreaming in the electoral process. the workshop was one of the ways INEC adopted to build the capacity of its staff. He also said that the commission was committed to building an all-inclusive democracy.
“It is one of the many ways the commission has adopted to build capacity of its staff. “The commission is committed to building an inclusive democracy where equality and equity are guaranteed,” he said. His address was delivered by Mr Mutiu Agboke, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Oyo State.

In his welcome remarks, Barr Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, Director, Voter Education and Publicity (VEP) assured that the knowledge acquired will go a long way in boosting the effectiveness of the electoral officers. He appreciated ECES for this intervention and spoke on the timeliness of this intervention as this will equip the gender desks officers with knowledge of the Commissions gender policy and how to effectively implement this tool.

Mr. David Le Notre, ECES Nigeria representative and Project Director in his goodwill message stated that the BRIDGE training is organised within the context of the EU-SDGN, and is geared towards supporting INEC to strengthen its capacity in delivering an inclusive, free and fair 2019 general elections. He said that the training was designed to encourage more Nigerian women to take active part in the electoral process.

Despite the fact that the women demography makes up the largest chunk of voters’ population, the women in Nigeria constitute only 5.8% of the political space. In 2015, only 6 women were appointed cabinet, 7 female senators and 6 female deputy governors. Also in 2015 only 1 female contested for presidency, 4 vice-presidents, 1 governorship contender and five deputy governorship contenders. This is indicative of low participation of women in electoral processes and government. The 35% affirmative action plan for women inclusion in governance as set by the Nigerian government is a target to be achieved.

As the world focuses on achieving the SDGs and envisions planet 5050 by 2030 that will further close the gender gap, ECES will continue to offer support in ensuring inclusion of women in electoral processes globally.
He hoped that this workshop achieves it’s set objectives, which are;

a.    To familiarize the Gender desk officers with the concept of gender and its importance to elections;
b.    To familiarize the INEC national and state gender desk officers with the National and INEC gender policies;
c.    To ensure the increased inclusion and participation of women in the electoral processes;
d.    To provide tools for participants to view elections from a gender perspective and bridge the gender gap in the Nigerian electoral system.

I hope this workshop avails all participants the needed resources and requisite knowledge for effective gender mainstreaming in the Nigerian political space. He added.
Rindai Vava, an expert BRIDGE facilitator took participants through the “Background to BRIDGE project and overview of the agenda” will be training the participants and supported by Nkechi Abuh and Mr. Chukuw Emeka Ugbuoja
This training will take place from the 19-23 March at the BWC Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

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