FCT Area Council Polls: INEC trains field agents on electoral violence, conflict mitigation

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FCT Area Council Polls: INEC trains field agents on electoral violence, conflict mitigation

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has commenced the empowerment of field workers on election violence mitigation and advocacy in preparation for the forthcoming FCT Area Council Elections.

The Commission has organised a “Methodology Workshop on the Deployment of Election Violence Mitigation & Advocacy Tool (EVMAT),” which was held at the Electoral Institute Virtual Library on Friday in Abuja.

The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yakubu Mahmood, represented by the Chairman, Board of the Electoral Institute, Prof. Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, said the Commission does not want to leave anything to chance in planning towards the peaceful conduct of the FCT Area Council Election scheduled for Saturday 12, February 2022.

He noted that the Commission is determined to correct the erroneous notion in the Nigerian political space that violence is an invaluable route to winning elections.

”It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this Methodology Workshop on Election Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tool (EVMAT), for field agents organised by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), towards the successful conduct of the February, 2022 Area Council Elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“We are all fully aware that activities towards conduct of the FCT Area Council Election scheduled for Saturday 12, February 2022 have gained traction and the Commission, in its characteristic meticulous approach to planning, does not want to leave anything to chance.

“Hence, the scheduling of today’s event to equip its field agents with the requisite knowledge and skills on the use of one of our key election protection tools, the EVMAT.

“There seems to be an entrenched, though very erroneous notion in the Nigerian Political space that violence is an invaluable route to winning elections. This seems to be the typical mindset of many political players in our clime, and so they often a times make preparations for elections as if it is preparation for war.

Mahmood stressed that the EVMAT is a potent tool used in identifying and mapping possible areas of electoral violence which could occur before, during or post elections periods and proffer effective preventive and/or mitigating measures to immunize the electoral process.

“It achieves this by identifying the early warning signs and possible triggers of violence in specific areas so that proactive steps could be taken for mitigation and outright prevention of any form of violence during elections.

“The instrument has a high degree of reliability and this informs its continued deployment by the Commission, having deployed it in Edo, Ondo and Anambra States Governorship Elections”. He noted.

In his welcome address, the Director General, Electoral Institute, Dr Sa’ad Umar Idris welcomed all participants to the workshop and stressed the importance of the deployment of the EVMAT tool in all elections by the Commission, including the FCT Area Council Election in identifying hotspots and violent prone areas during elections.

He recalled  that EVMAT TOOL was successfully deployed in previous Governorship Elections in Edo, Ondo and recently Anambra Governorship Election. He urged participants to gather credible and reliable data by doing their field work with the highest level of integrity, transparency and professionalism.

He admonished them to justify the confidence reposed in them by the Commission.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), of FCT Alh. Yahaya Bello, in a goodwill message to the participants, appreciated the DG TEI for inviting him most especially as the EVMAT Workshop concerns the February 12th scheduled FCT Area Coucil Election.

As a stand-alone election, the REC urged particpants to stay focused during the workshop as all eyes are on the FCT Area Coucil Election and people will use it to judge the commission as it prepares for the forthcoming Ekiti, Osun, and indeed the 2023 General Elections.

He also highlighted that some of the violence recorded during the previous elections in FCT had several other tiggers not politicians alone as it’s often assumed. Indeed, there were instances where voters’ actions at the polls have contributed to the outbreak of violence.

He mentioned the activities of banditry and kidnappings from neighbouring states like Kogi, Niger, and Nassarawa may likely be the cause of some electoral violence in FCT.
He concluded by challenging all participants to be good ambassadors of the Commission.

The Chair BEI, drew the attention of all the participants that  EVMAT Tool is being deployed by the Commission as a tool for  saving lives, for ensuring that election is free, fair, inclusive, credible and peaceful, for helping election practitioners and election security stakeholders in curtailing, and mitigating election violence.

He drew the attention of participants that the Commission counts on them for better results.

The workshop had in attendance the Chairman of the Board of the Electoral Institute (BEI), Prof.  Abdullahi Abdu  Zuru, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of FCT, Alh. Yahaya Bello, Director-General of The Electoral Institute, Dr Sa’ad Umar Idris, Director, Research & Documentation, Dr Ibrahim Sani, Director Training, Dr Binta Kasim, Mr. Tunde Ojedokun Ag. Admin. Sec of the Institute, and Dr Willie Eselebor, who served as the resource person for the workshop.

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