ECOWAS Commission: Engagement among political actors, stakeholders, critical to peaceful conduct of 2023 elections

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission says interactive engagements among political actors and stakeholders are critical in the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
Amb. Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS’ Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, stated this at a 4-day training and interactive workshop on violent-free general elections which held in Jos, Plateau state.
Musah who was represented by Dr. Brown Odigie, ECOWAS’ Programme Officer on Mediation, said dialogue and mediation are platforms for addressing contentious issues aimed at preventing and mitigating election-related conflicts during and after the polls.
According to Musah, ECOWAS Commission prioritises the provision of opportunities for such interactions so as to equip stakeholders with the necessary skills and competence for dialogue and mediation.
“It is in this regard that the ECOWAS Commission developed a dialogue and mediation handbook, elements of which will be used in the course of this training workshops, and with this, participants are expected to acquire practical techniques and skills for dialogue and mediation as important tools for the management of electoral disputes and conflicts through role-plays and simulation exercises”, he said.
He called on all political parties, their candidates and the inter-party advisory council (IPAC) to always uphold the contents of the signed peace accord and the electoral guidelines which are imperative to ensuring peaceful and credible general election.
Also speaking, representative of the United Nations Office in West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS) Liaison Office in Nigeria, Mrs. Sa’adatu Shuaibu, noted that the training falls within the framework of UNOWAS joint efforts with ECOWAS to support member states in their efforts to conduct peaceful, inclusive, and credible elections and entrench democracy.
She added that UNOWAS had conducted similar engagements with various stakeholders at the national level to strengthen peace, democracy, development and good governance in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Plateau state, Dr. Oliver Agundu, commended ECOWAS for the training.
Represented by Mr. Otokpa Egwurube, INEC’s head of voters’ education in Plateau state, Agundu said the step taken by the ECOWAS commission, will no doubt help to strengthen channels of information and deepen relations amongst stakeholders and promote collaborations on common issues faced during elections.
He urged stakeholders “to act and behave responsibly even in the face of defeat or when victorious because in an electoral contest there must be a loser and there must be a winner”.
Participants were drawn from states in the North-east and North-central geopolitical zones.

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