INEC seeks media collaboration on voter education

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called for media collaboration, especially on voter education as the country prepares for general elections in 2019.

Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the call in an interactive session with the media on Thursday in Abuja.

Yakubu also called for input of the media on the appropriate way to design the ballot papers and ballot boxes for the elections, given the increase in the number of registered political parties.

“As we approach the 2019 general elections, we need your support in many ways, especially voter education and sensitisation.

“With 68 political parties and 136 applications being processed, we need to raise the awareness of citizens on the manifestos, logos and acronyms of political parties.

“Similarly, we need to find different ways of managing the ballot papers for the general elections.

“As a proactive step, the commission has been working on a number of options regarding the design of the ballot paper and the management of the ballot box,” he said.

He added that the commission was considering resuscitating its Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Voter Education in all states, and assured that the media would be involved in the process.

On Ekiti governorship election, National Commissioner in the commission, Mr Solomon Soyebi, called for media collaboration in curbing vote-buying as witnessed in the exercise in Anambra.

“We want to curb the issue of vote-buying but we cannot do this alone. It required the collaboration of the media.”

Soyebi reiterated that Enhanced Smart Card Reader would be used for the election, adding that the cards were deployed for recent bye-elections in parts of the country.

He, however, disclosed that Ekiti would be the first state where the enhanced card reader would be fully deployed in a state-wide poll.

Soyebi said that the commission was fully prepared for the election.

In his remarks, National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Abdulwaheed Odusile, advised INEC to sustain its collaboration with the media.

Odusile, represented by Adebayo Bodunrin of Daar Communications, said that the quarterly meeting had been of mutual benefit to the media and the commission.

“The media has benefited in a way that it has helped us to get the necessary information to better inform the public.”(NAN)

Biola Lawal

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