By: Victoria Agorom
As part its efforts at ensuring peaceful and credible elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reiterated its commitment to a sustained partnership with the Nigerian Media.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakub, made the commitment in his address during the quarterly consultative meeting with Media Executives, Wednesday in Abuja.
The meeting, which was conveyed basically to review the 2023 general elections, the Chairman disclosed, was the sixth in the series of consultative meetings with relevant stakeholders.
Accordingly, the Chairman noted that the meeting with the Media was significant considering its role as the Fourth Estate of the Realm in promoting credible electoral processes.
While appreciating the Nigerian Media for its continued support and partnership with the Electoral Umpire, especially in voters education and publicity, he maintained that Journalists as citizens should be part of discussions on issues bordering the nation’s electoral processes.
He said that each discussions would no doubt aid in championing modalities that would ensure the credibility of electoral processes in the Country.
In his response, the National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Chris Isiguzo, stated that the quarterly consultative meeting is critical in shaping Nigeria electoral processes and democracy.
The President posited that the 2023 general elections witnessed an unprecedented convergence of the Media in shaping the voice of the people; stating that the commitment of the Media to public enlightenment and voter education was unparalleled.
He, however, noted that fake news, hate speech and misinformation are some of the challenges posing encumbrances to Journalists in recent times.
Isiguzo, therefore, urged INEC to re-strategize its communication platforms to ensure wider reach to the people just as he called for introspection and improvement in future elections.
He commended INEC for fostering the partnership noting that collective efforts would shape the future of Nigeria democracy and by extension, the development of the nation.
The Forum decried late accreditation of Journalists and the high handedness of some security personnel towards newsmen during the general elections. On accreditation of Journalists, the Forum advised INEC to engage strategic stakeholders in the processes to enhance adequate media coverage and promote credible elections.