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2015 Elections: INEC begins issuing of permanent voters cards in 2014

As part of its preparations for the 2015 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, would begin issuing permanent voters cards next year.

This was disclosed in Abuja yesterday by Chairman of INEC Prof. Attahiru Jega who was represented by a commissioner in the electoral commision Engr. Nuhu Yakub at a workshop organised for the INEC press corps and information personnel with the theme “Information Management and the Role of the Media in the Electoral Process”.

 Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State receiving his voters card from Oyo State INEC Commissioner, Ayo Adakeja while his wife,Oluwakemi and others looks on during the Voters card registration exercise held at Ward 10,Sabo,Taara,Ogbomoso,Oyo State
Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State receiving his voters card from Oyo State
INEC Commissioner, Ayo Adakeja while his wife,Oluwakemi and others
 looks on during the Voters card registration exercise held at
Ward 10,Sabo,Taara, Ogbomoso, Oyo State

Jega further explained that permanent voters cards would be distributed to those who registered since 2011.

The INEC boss also declared that conducting credible elections in the country could not be the responsibility of INEC alone but “a multi-stakeholder endeavour that requires the collaboration and diligent commitment of other role players.

In his own speech at the occasion,entitled “ Media and Democracy – A practitioner’s perspective”, Mr Steve Ayorinde, the Deputy President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, said the group had volunteered to work with INEC to ensure that the 2015 general elections are free and fair.

He further stated that this was part of NGE’s social responsibility towards ensuring that the nation’s democracy is deepened.
.He also hailed the contribution of NGE and the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria NPAN towards defending the nation’s democracy.

Ayorinde also urged journalists to adopt self-censorship in the practice of their profession in order to avoid publishing anything outside the truth.

He identified several problems plaguing the media to include poor and irregular payment of salaries which renders journalists susceptible to unethical practices and erodes the integrity of the profession.

Ayorinde identified other problems the industry is facing to include heavy investments by politicians; media awards that honour politicians and seek lifelines; and businessmen publishers with political ambition which results in editorial interference.
In a paper he delivered at the occasion, Prof. Okey Ibeanu of the Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka observed that the media had lost its social commitment as was exhibited during the military rule.

He further said there was need for negative entropy adding that this would ensure that information disorder would be checked.

He identified what he called “ The continued domination of state media” as leading to disorder in dissemination of information.

According to him, another factor is the political interest of media owners adding that an example of this occurred in Italy where the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tried to depoliticize the media by focusing its attention on entertainment.

Said he: “Commercialization in the media exerts a negative influence on the industry”

He advocated that the media needs to continue to play its oversight role over the government and its various institutions.

Said he:”The media also needs to mobilize the people for electoral participation. The industry also has a major role in conflict management.”

Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda, Edet Ojo said INEC’s strategic communication plan should include regular dissemination of information about INEC’s activities.

He also pointed out that the media needs to be constantly reminded about the functions of INEC.

Said he: “INEC needs to convince the public that it is a credible body which could conduct credible elections.”

He further said that the media needs to ensure that Nigerians are adequately informed about INEC’s schedules including time frames.

According to him:” The media needs to ensure that various groups in society including women, people with disabilities and Nigerians in diaspora are effectively involved in the electoral process.”

He also observed that the internal communication framework determines the external communication output of INEC.
Ojo also advised INEC’s management on the need to comply with Freedom of Information Act adding that this would indicate that the electoral commission is transparent.
He advocated that INEC should set up a Freedom of Information Unit.

Source: Vanguard

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