NUJ Chairman urges INEC to step up Voter Education

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By Benprince Ezeh

THE Nigerian Union of journalists, NUJ, has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to increase voters awareness programme in the country.

Qasim Akinreti, chairman of the Lagos Chapter of Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, also urged INEC to partner with the media in creating awareness on the electoral process.

He gave the advise at the INEC’s 2019 post-election reviews which held in Lagos on Monday, July 8.

Akinreti said the commission needed to create more awareness on pre, during and post-election issues, notably on registration of voters, voters education, conduct of party primaries, nominations of candidates by political parties, electioneering campaigns, election debates, the main election, accreditation of voters, voting process- the monstrous vote buying debacle, collation of results and announcement of results.

“Interestingly, we have individually, collectively and corporately put up these issues in the public domain at different times. Now INEC says let us have a post mortem. This is really novel.  Permit me dear colleagues to open up the discussion on three flanks- First on Pre-Election matters. Monitoring of party primaries where INEC plays a monitoring role is quite suspect.

“Political parties have played all dirty tricks in nominating their candidates and INEC as observer should be able to release the outcome of the party primaries to the public. I think INEC should not wait for the courts to make final pronouncement on party candidates as witnessed in the last election where remarkably the people of Zamfara were put on edge until the final hour.

“Once INEC compile its findings with the security agencies, it should call a press conference to inform Nigerians on the shenanigans or impropriety of the political parties’ nominations.    Surprisingly, after the election in Zamfara, victory went to another party who did not win the election,” he said.

Akinreti urged INEC to address logistics issues ahead of elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Ondo states. He said logistics almost marred the 2019 elections, though INEC survived the near collapse of the entire electoral process.

“My solution to logistics issues especially transportation of sensitive materials is outsourcing of transportation process” with reputable logistics company or companies.  Advertise the logistics aspect through open bidding and let the best among the equals take the job,” he said.

He suggested that INEC should accreditate journalists both local and foreign. “The NUJ should be fully involved, NUJ knows its members and have understanding with various unions across the globe.

“The first port of call for foreign Journalists should be the Union secretariat as done in other parts of the world. Any Journalists without NUJ biometric Identity Card should not be allowed to cover the election. This is one of the effective ways INEC can support the fight against fake Journalists and peddlers of fake news and ultimately promote discipline among media practitioners,” he said.

– July 9, 2019 @ 20:17 GMT |

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