By Amuda Dan Sulaiman Fab
Ahead of the November 11, Kogi State governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has tasked Media Executives in the state to provide accurate information about the election.
The election umpire also reassured Kogites of its commitment to a credible election supported by technology, stressing that voters will be accredited by means of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and there will be no Incident Form.
Dr Hate Gabriel Longpet, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Kogi State, gave the assurance at a meeting with Media Executives, held at Reverton Hotels, Lokoja, on Tuesday.
Longpet said as the general election approaches, INEC and the media shall continue to work together to counter misinformation in order not to undermine the electoral process.
He said: “We will remain transparent and provide the required information to combat the triple menace of misinformation, disinformation and fake news as the commission does not support censorship.
“We believe that the best antidote to fake news is greater openness and greater transparency. So, we will appeal to the media to help us to fact check, particularly some of the posting on the new media intended to either delegitimise those who conduct elections or to delegitimise the institution that conducts elections with the ultimate aim of undermining the process.
“As I said, we always remain open and provide information. I know you are professionals in your own right but I have learned also in this job for some time now that a professional journalist works on account of the information available to him or her. We will continue to provide you with the information necessary for transparent and credible elections.”
The chairman also expressed appreciation to the state working journalists, saying the commission has achieved so much working together with them for electoral reform.
Longpet further said the collaboration with Media Practitioners has enhanced; “citizens’ participation and inclusivity in the electoral process, voter education, campaign for peaceful elections.”
Alhaji Adeiza Momojimoh, the Kogi State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), said the introduction of technology in the elections has equally shown that INEC has given the people a right to choose their leaders.
The NUJ Chairman, who urged the commission to provide means of protecting journalists during the election, said: “With the leadership recruitment process in Nigeria under your watch and leadership, we can say authoritatively that it is now for public people to choose their leaders.
“You have done your own part in leadership recruitment processes and these you have done so well.
“INEC has done so well when it comes to the issue of giving it back to the people to choose their leaders.
“This we are proud of and we call upon Nigerians to use these opportunities or to seize this opportunity to protect democracy and to protect their own interest.
On his part, Prof Kunle Ajayi, INEC National Commissioner, said Media remains one the Commission’s critical stakeholders.
He said aside regular coverage of activities of the commission, media organizations are also accredited to cover elections and electoral activities during general elections and off- cycle elections.
“That is why it is fundamental that we continually and continuesly interact with the media for effective dissemination of information concerning our processes and procedures and also our plans for free, fair, credible and all-inclusive elections.