ECOWAS engages Nigerian politicians ahead of 2023 polls


The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission will hold a series of training and interactive workshops for politicians and stakeholders in Nigeria on dialogue and mediation as tools for preventing and reducing disputes and violence related to elections.

The Commission said that the workshop is part of its plan to help the country have a peaceful General Election in 2023.

According to a statement released to the media on Saturday by Brown Odigie, Program Officer, Mediation Directorate of Political Affairs, ECOWAS Commission, the workshop series will take place in a few selected states in each of the country’s six geopolitical zones. It is aimed at the leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and other groups. Its goal is to strengthen their ability to prevent and reduce possible disputes and violence before and after elections, so that they can be held peacefully.

It is also a follow-up to the ECOWAS Pre-election Fact-Finding Mission to Nigeria, which took place from October 23rd to November 12th, 2022. That mission, among other things, looked at how prepared different groups were for the upcoming general elections and mapped out areas where ECOWAS could help.

The Commission said that the program is happening because electoral contests have become a major source of conflict in West Africa, with the potential for violence. This is because people place a high value on political power and use fiery language when talking about politics, which can start or worsen conflicts.

It also said that it is hoped that this series of training and interactive workshops will give stakeholders a chance to learn more about the ECOWAS normative principles and frameworks for democracy and good governance, keep and improve ECOWAS’ strategic engagement with the political process in Nigeria, and show its commitment and determination to promote dialogue and mediation in resolving electoral disputes and conflicts.

People will remember that similar workshops were held before Nigeria’s general elections in 2019 and before the elections in a number of other member states.

The training and interactive workshops are being paid for by the Danish Africa Programme for Peace, which is run by the government of the Kingdom of Denmark.

The Directorate of Political Affairs (DPA), Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the Commission is putting on the workshop, which will be the first in a series. It will start on November 22, 2022, in Lagos, Nigeria.