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The National Institute serves as a high level centre for reflection, research and dialogue.

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A capacity building workshop for newly elected state officials of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) was organised by the Political Parties Leadership and Policy Development Centre (PPLPDC) of the National Institute from 6-9 December, 2016.

The workshop, held at the New Auditorium of the Institute, was designed to provide participants with essential knowledge on how to run political parties professionally and efficiently.

          Welcoming participants to the workshop, the Ag. Director-General of the National Institute, Mr. Jonathan Juma, mni, stated that the main objective of the Political Parties Centre, established in 2013, is to strengthen the leadership and organisational capacities of political parties as institutional foundation of Nigeria’s democracy and to ensure that they are policy-oriented, responsive, inclusive and more accountable to their members and the society.

He recalled that in 2014, the Centre trained different categories of leaders of all the political parties at the national and state levels. The Centre also organised several conferences and dialogues on political parties and democracy in Nigeria. It also participated in the 2015 general elections in observation status and subsequently followed up that role with a post-2015 election conference.

On funding, the Ag. Director-General disclosed that the UNDP DGDII provided grants to the Centre until 2015 when the programme ended. Subsequently, the Federal Government, recognising the significance of capacity building of the leadership of political parties, made budgetary provisions for the Centre in 2016. Therefore, this capacity building workshop as well as the earlier conference on “Strengthening Internal Party Democracy in Nigeria” (15-16 November, 2016) were organised with funds allocated to the Institute by the Federal Government. He expressed the hope that more officials of IPAC and other political office holders would be accommodated for appropriate training in the future as more funds become available to the Institute.

Mr. Juma also shared the cheering news that the Centre has won a four-year grant from the European Union commencing from 2017. This, he said, will enable the Centre to engage in more capacity building for leaders of political parties prior to the 2019 General Elections.

The Ag. Director-General used the opportunity to congratulate one of the resource persons, Prof. Okey Ibeanu, who was sworn-in as INEC Commissioner on Wednesday 7 December, 2016.

          Also speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of IPAC, Hon. Muhammad Nalado, emphasised that the workshop will enhance the performance of political parties and deepen Nigeria’s democracy. He expressed delight at the enthusiastic turn out and participation of all registered political parties in the country, saying this signalled the seriousness with which the parties viewed their role in the national development.

          The Director of Research, Prof. Habu Galadima, who is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Centre, also emphasised the central role of political parties in a democracy, pointing out that strengthening their capacity is critical to deepening democracy in Nigeria. Prof. Galadima disclosed that in 2014, the Centre trained 140 elected officials drawn from all the registered political parties. He said the centre intends to focus capacity building at all levels of political leadership, including national, state and local governments. The Chief Operating Officer of the Centre explained that the workshop was designed, not only to provide participants with essential knowledge, but also to afford them with opportunities for experience sharing.

          The workshop covered four modules of the centre’s curriculum, namely:

  • Foundation of political parties;
  • Running a professional political party (parts 1 and 2); and
  • Strengthening political parties as channels of democratic participation

 

          About 150 participants took part in the workshop, including four elected IPAC officials from each of the 36 states and Abuja and the National Executive Committee members. Certificates of attendance were presented at the occasion.

Issues arising from the workshop included the need for greater internal party democracy and inclusiveness in the running of the parties. Particularly denoted was the issue of guaranteeing participation by women, youth and people with disability. The workshop also emphasised the value of inter-party dialogue in the promotion of national unity and for building political consensus on critical national issues.

          Also emphasised was the need for greater effort at membership mobilization and empowerment by the parties, as well as the use of volunteers to complement core-staff. On funding, the workshop canvassed public funding of political parties and called for the enactment of relevant legislation by the National Assembly as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic.