Ends nationwide training, interactive engagement for dialogue and mediation

From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri

Ahead of the forthcoming general polls, the ECOWAS COMMISSION has called on all candidates and political parties to uphold the contents of the Signed Peace Accord and the Electoral Act and Guidelines, stressing that these are what would guarantee peaceful and credible polls.

The Commission which stressed the importance of Nigeria to West Africa, and the entire world noted that all Africans and the world look up to Nigeria to deliver a peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible election.

Dr Onyinye Onwuka of the ECOWAS COMMISSION stated this yesterday when, she, on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS COMMISSION His Excellency Omar Alieu Touray and the Commissioner – Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Ambassador Abdel – Fatau Musah declared open, the fourth and final of the series of a three – day training and interactive engagements by the ECOWAS COMMISSION for the leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and other critical stakeholders holding in Owerri the Imo state capital for the South East and South-South regions.

This, she explained, was part of strategic support and intervention towards a peaceful 2023 general elections in Nigeria.

Onwuka stressed the preparedness of the ECOWAS COMMISSION to sustain her partnership with relevant stakeholders in ensuring the prevention of election-related conflicts and violence, not only in Nigeria but the entire ECOWAS region said that the ECOWAS COMMISSION prioritises creating opportunities and platforms for such interactions to be held which among others include: supporting initiatives aimed at equipping stakeholders with necessary skills and competencies for the management of election-related disputes through inclusive dialogue and mediation.

CSP Mike Abattam representing Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command; Representative of Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Imo State, Barr. Victor. O. Nwokeabia; *Head of Mediation and Coordination of Regional Political Affairs (MCRA), ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Onyinye Onwuka*; and Organising Secretary, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Comrade Wale Martins, at the Mediation and Dialogue training for political actors in South East and South South Zones in Owerri on Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Speaking at the event Victor Nwokeabi, Head of the Department of Election and Party Monitoring, INEC, Imo State, who represented the Resident Electoral Commissioner (INEC) Imo state- Prof Sylvia Uchenna Agu described the programme as fundamentally crucial to the forthcoming election, noting that no meaningful election could take place in an environment prone to violence.

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“I believe that after this event, you will all go home, and inform your candidates and members of your political parties on the importance of Alternative Dispute Resolution”.

Nwokeabia assured that INEC was ready to conduct a violent free and transparent election, assuring that it would no longer be business as usual with BVAS.

He added that other electronic devices procured by INEC for free and fair elections would be used to give Nigerians the best election this year.

Similarly, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde, who spoke through CSP Mike Abattam assured that the security agencies would leave no stone unturned to contribute their quota for a credible election.

He however pleaded with the media for accurate, objective and unbiased reportage of the election, avoidance of hate speeches by politicians and the need to educate the people on their rights as established in the constitution.

“As we prepare for the polls, there must be information flow by the media during the pre-election, election itself and post-election”.

The workshop featured lectures on Dialogue and Mediation processes for Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC)– Nigeria by Professor Joy Onyesoh, Dr Onyinye Onwuka and Dr Brown Odige as well as goodwill message from Ambassador Musa Sani, Nuhu- Nigeria’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to ECOWAS through Makwe Samuel Victor.