The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Nigerians that the electoral umpire will continue to deploy digital technology to enhance Nigeria’s election process.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu gave the assurance at the opening of a two-day capacity building workshop on INEC’s processes, innovations and preparations for the 2023 General Election and critical issues in the Electoral Act 2022, held in Lagos.
Represented by INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, the INEC Chairman noted that the commission had gotten to a critical stage in it’s preparation towards the 2023 General Election.
To this end, the Chief Electoral Umpire revealed plans by the Commission to deploy several digital technology, such as social media platforms for the dissemination of it’s voter education and enlightenment messages to keep Nigerians informed about election processes and procedures.
With high expectations of Nigerians as election campaigns commences on Wednesday 28th September 2022, the Commission also warned politicians to avoid political campaigns that could provoke violence in the country.
Prof. Yakubu warned that smear campaigns, abusive and slandering languages, are likely to induce religious, tribal or ethnic conflicts and promote disunity in the country.
He charged all eighteen registered political parties expected to participate in the 2023 General Election, to be guided by the constitution, Electoral Act, Police Act and the Public Order Act in the course of their campaigns.
In his welcome remarks, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Lagos State, Mr. Segun Agbaje noted that the successful conduct of the recent off-season Governorship election in both Ekiti and Osun states have reignited the hope of the electorates in the credibility of the nation’s electoral process
Mr. Agbaje was however of the view that the successes recorded by the commission is a call on INEC to further work on the modalities to improve the process for better delivery.
While charging the media on their responsibility as the watch dog of the society, the Lagos State REC, urged them to “live up to their responsibility by avoiding sensational or divisive approach in their coverage of political issues”.
He asserted that the media ” have a supreme call and duty, to among other things mobilize, sensitize and enlighten the electorate on all electoral processes by educating them on responsibilities to perform their civic roles to vote for any candidate of their choice”.
Earlier, Partners and facilitators of the workshop, Development Alternatives Incorporated(DAI) DAI and the European Union represented by Rudolf Elbling and
Denis Mutabazi, acknowledged that the damage being done through misinformation and fake news is enormous.
While optimistic that the workshop will be of great benefit to newsmen, they assured that the partnership with the electoral umpire will assist the nation’s election process.
For his part, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC National Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi explained that “the workshop’s main objective is to broaden the participants’ knowledge about the Commission’s processes and procedures, innovations, critical aspects of the new Electoral Act 2022 and preparations for the 2023 General Election.
“Members of the Press Corps will have the opportunity to interrogate all presentations in what promises to be a series of robust interactions and convergence of ideas. Ultimately” he said.
Outcome of the workshop according to to Mr. Oyekanmi, is expected to equip the participants with the wherewithal required for accurate reportage on the Commission’s activities, especially on the Strategic Plan 2022 – 2026, the Election Project Plan, Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections (2022) as well as voter education strategy for the 2023 polls.
In a goodwill message, Chairman, INEC Press Corpse, Mr. Segun Ojumu stressed the need for the Commission to promptly respond to issues as it relates to the nation’s election process, in order to avoid misinformation and curb the spread of fake news.