2019 election is the most covered event, says INEC

Friday, July 5, 2019

/ by Joe Adams
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu 
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has claimed that the 2019 general election is the most extensively covered event in Nigeria.

INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, made the claim in his opening address during a meeting with the media at the ongoing review of the 2019 general elections in Abuja yesterday.

He revealed that 1,799 local journalists and 332 journalists of foreign media organisations were Accredited for the elections.

“As one of our valuable partners, we have always worked closely with the Media. It is for this reason that in addition to our vibrant INEC Press Corps, the Headquarters of the commission alone accredited 1,799 journalists from more than 150 domestic media organisations to cover the 2019 General Election.

“Foreign media presence was also impressive. We had 332 journalists from 52 foreign media organisations from different parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia to cover the elections. It was indeed an engaging experience. The general election was the most extensively covered event in Nigeria in 2019,” he said.

Commenting on the focus of the meeting, the INEC boss, said: “Now that the election is over, it is time to re-examine the entire process with a view to consolidating the successes and establishing a template that would address the challenges. The purpose of this meeting, therefore, is to discuss all the salient aspects of the process which require improvement. You were accredited to cover all aspects of the processes.

“The commission wants to hear from you how the processes can be improved upon from pre-election activities such as the registration of voters, conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates by political parties, campaigns (including election debates by candidates) to election day activities such as accreditation of voters, voting process (including more effective measures to stem vote buying), collation and declaration of results.

“It follows logically, therefore, that this meeting is not a press conference or another media briefing by the commission. Rather, it would like you to share your field experiences, observations and recommendations on all aspects of the election from logistics, election technology, security, media accreditation, coverage of the elections, adequacy and effectiveness of public enlightenment drive by the commission, access to information by the media, access to political parties and candidates as well as issues of misinformation, dis-information, fake news, hate speech and more.

“The whole purpose of today’s meeting is how we can improve on processes and procedures for which you were not only reporters but observers and actively involved in several ways. Today, we will talk less and listen more to you.

“Before I conclude, let me remind you that the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections have been scheduled for Saturday November 16, 2019. I assure you that we will consider all the recommendations arising from this meeting that can be implemented administratively by the commission before the conduct of the Governorship Elections in the two states.

“Let me therefore conclude by once again extending the commission’s appreciation to the media for the useful contributions you have been making towards making Nigeria’s electoral process better,” he said.

Speaking earlier, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voters Education committee, Festus Okoye, had commended the media for the support given to the commission.

“Our consultation with the media on different issues and aspects of the electoral process will continue even after the present structured review meetings with critical stakeholders.’’, he assured.

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