The Independent National Commission (INEC) has appealled to the media for accurate, objective and professional reporting of the elections as the commission prepares for Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections on November 16.
The INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who made the appeal in Abuja, said though the commission does not believe in censorship, it is a collective responsibility to combat fake news.
“The best antidote to fake news is more openness and transparency. We are open to verification of information either through our state offices or the national headquarters of the commission,” Yakubu said.
“Through your diligent reporting of elections, you provide valuable insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the processes. We value your engagement with the commission and will continue to deepen it,” he said.
Yakubu disclosed that in the 2019 general elections, the commission accredited a total of 216 media organisations out of which 165 were domestic and 51 foreign.
“Collectively, they deployed 2,128 journalists: 1,787 domestic and 341 foreign. This is in addition to other media organisations that operate at state, local government and community level nationwide.
“We benefitted from your reportage in reviewing our processes and procedures.
“The purpose of interactive meetings such as this is one is benefit from your insight into aspects of your experience that may not have been reported but which may be critical to the success of future elections in Nigeria,” he observed.
Yakubu also said that the commission would once again accredit media organisations to report from the two states.
Further, the chairman of the electoral said that INEC would continue to do whatever was necessary to safe guard the electoral processes.
He recalled that recent some political parties approached the court that the commission rejected their nominations for Kogi and Bayelsa, even though they did not comply with the guidelines by Electoral Act.
He said it was worthy of note that the court ruled in favour of INEC because the commission was committed to doing the right thing to deepen the electoral processes.
He said that the commission was also making move for the amendment of the Electoral Act to ensure that where a candidate compelled electoral officer to declare him or her under duress, such a person would not be issued certificate of return.