The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has pledged to conduct credible elections in the Edo and Ondo states gubernatorial elections scheduled for September and October respectively.
The electoral umpire disclosed that the commission was committed to providing a level playing field for all candidates and parties.
Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, disclosed this at a webinar on Edo/Ondo Elections organised by the International Press Centre (IPC) and the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria, ACSPN.
He said, “We are not interested in the outcome of the elections but the credibility of the process to ensure that materials get to the polling unit on a good time.”
He called on the media to be fair in their reportage even as he promised that it will ignore the activities of the political actors in the state and go ahead to conduct a credible elections.
“INEC is determined to conduct the election despite the current difficult circumstances.
“Out of the 14 activities listed in the timetable released in February, we have carried out 12.
“The only two left are the deadline for campaigns slated for Sept. 17 and the election proper slated for Sept. 19.
“All the logistics needed for the election have been taken care of. The non-sensitive materials have been delivered to the 18 local government areas of the state,” he said.
In his remarks, Lanre Arogundade, the Executive Director of ICP, said the key objectives of the webinar were to strengthen the capacity of the media to engage professional, ethical, issue-oriented, gender-sensitive issues.
According to him, it was also to improve their capacity on inclusive sensitive and conflict-sensitive reporting of the electoral processes and elections.
He said, “The webinar was organised with a specific focus on the imperative of safety consciousness and conflict sensitivity in media coverage of the two elections because of the prevailing circumstances in the two states.
“In the area of safety, we are looking at how journalists could avoid getting in harm’s way in the course of their legitimate duties amid the general concern that the elections could turn violent as pockets of violence are already being recorded here and there particularly in Edo.
“We are also looking at how journalists could ensure their health safety in view of the fact that the two elections are taking place under the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the area of conflict sensitivity, we are looking at how journalists could contribute to the peaceful conduct of the elections by embracing the principles and guidelines of conflict-sensitive journalism”.