The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has allayed the fears of many Nigerians as regards the 2015 elections, saying the election is “a possible turning point for the best for Nigeria”.
UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Daouda Toure, who said this yesterday while on a courtesy visit to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, reassured Nigerians that the country would come out stronger from the elections.
“Since conflict is a part of every society, you have to begin to address it even before it starts: the culture of peace must be inculcated in the minds of our politicians before the elections.
“We are therefore delighted to be associated with this initiative by NIPSS to strengthen the capacity of political parties so they become key pillars of Nigeria’s democratic polity.”
He said political parties constitute an essential pillar of a vibrant, well-established and resilient democracy.
“And woven into the democratic fabric of society, parties serve vital functions, including aggregating citizen interests, forming government and holding them accountable, developing and promoting policy positions and programmes, and grooming and selecting leadership. They are therefore needed to sustain democracy,” he said.
According to him, “Democratic Governance Development (DGD) and NIPSS developed a curriculum to equip young party leaders with the fundamentals to drive a robust democratic engagement. It provides strategic techniques on how parties can become stronger institutions themselves.”
On its part, NIPSS said as the foremost institute in West Africa and indeed Africa, it has taken it upon itself to strengthen the capacity of political parties with a view to bringing stability, national unity and meaningful participatory democracy to Nigeria’s political system.
The Director General of the institute, Professor Tijjani Muhammad Bande, while thanking UNDP for its immense support, revealed that the institute had trained about 200 political party officials, including chairmen, secretaries, treasurers, financial secretaries, women leaders, legal advisers and publicity secretaries at the national level, adding that the training would be extended to leaders at the state and ward levels before the 2015 elections.
Resource persons at the training included professors of impeccable records from diverse disciplines. They all promised to leave the participants with impacts that would change the fortune of politics in Nigeria.
In the company of Toure on the visit were his wife, Mrs Toure, DGD Project Director, Dr. Mourtada Deme, and UNESCO Director, Professor Alidou Hassana, among others.