In many countries, national elections can provoke tension and uncertainty. Nigeria is no exception. The elections, originally scheduled for the middle of February, have now been postponed to 28 March, partly as a result of the security situation.
Seeking to make a positive contribution to the electoral process, the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), a national ecumenical partner of the World Council of Churches (WCC), has been engaged in a major project to encourage church leadership to train its members to take a full part in civic activities. The CCN project has included the training of election observers and monitors.
According to recent reports from the Christian Council of Nigeria, within the period between December 2014 and January 2015, the CCN has trained 480 persons who will go back to their localities to train others. The trained persons are comprised of women, men and young people – who are leaders in the various church denominations across the country. The training took place in four locations: Ibadan, Lagos, Kaduna and Umuahia.
The major objective of the training sessions was the enhancement of participation by members of the Christian Council of Nigeria in the nation’s civic activities. On a broader scale, the training objectives were: to build the capacity of participants to carry out non-partisan voter education and social mobilization; to equip participants with knowledge and skills for empowering church leaders and members to understand their civic rights and obligations and to enhance their capacity actively to participate in the electoral process and increase the participation of the Christian Council of Nigeria in promoting electoral transparency and to mandate protection in Nigeria.
There was a training Manual produced, which is now in circulation in Nigeria. The CCN also produced a jingle in both audio and video formats. The link to the audio format is available online. The jingle was further translated to three major Nigerian local languages: Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa.
The CCN is also expecting to train and mobilize 2,035 individuals specifically as election observers in the 36 states and Abuja.
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