The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have begun a week-long training for electoral officers in Anambra.

The training is part of efforts to ensure free and fair local government elections in the state.

Speaking at the opening ceremony in Enugu on Monday, Dr. Mourtada Deme, UNDP’s Director of Democratic Governance for Development, explained that the training was also to empower the officers with the skills and knowledge needed for the conduct of a successful election slated for October 5.

Deme, represented by Adebowale Olorunmola, an election consultant, said the training tagged, `Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections? (BRIDGE), was to ensure the smooth conduct of the elections.

He said the training was put together with the assistance of the UK Department for International Development, Canada International Development Agency and other international agencies.

“Today, we started a one week long intensive training for the officials of Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC).

“It is a specialised training that is aimed at building the capacity of the officials of the commission to be able to conduct an election that is free, fair credible and meeting international standard come October 5th.

“At the end of the day, we believe that they will get to understand the nitty-gritty of planning for election, of civic and voter education, of understanding what it entails to carry stakeholders along,?? he said.

Speaking, Ifeanyichukwu Agoha, INEC’s Assistant Director of International Liaison and Outreach, said the training was to strengthen electoral officers in Anambra to be able to train other participants in the electoral process.

He said the training would expose the officers to the electoral guidelines and regulations that would be binding on them.

“For us from INEC, we are here as the father to the state independent electoral commission to assist in strengthening their work force so that they can be in a position to give the Anambrarians a good local government election.

“We believe that with a good local government election, national elections will also tend to be free and fair because they are the foundation, they are at the grassroots,?? he said.

The Acting Chairman of ANSIEC and a participant at the training, Sylvester Okonkwo, promised to conduct an election devoid of corruption and irregularities.

Mrs Obiageli Chika, a participant, commended the organisers of the workshop and noted that the training had given them insight on how to tackle challenges during elections.

“Those methodologies imparted in us, when we get to Anambra, we will be able to impart them in all the people that will work for the successful election,?? she said.

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