By Peter Okolie
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has sought the support of the media for a peaceful conduct of the Nov. 11 governorship election in Imo.
The National Commissioner and Member Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC) Mohammed Haruna, made the call at an engagement with media executives on Monday in Owerri, ahead of the poll.
“The Media remains one of our critical stakeholders.
“In reporting activities of the commission, pre-election, election, and post-election activities, we plead with the media to be factual, objective, and professional in their reportage,” Haruna said.
The national commissioner urged the media, as citizens, “to be part of the discussion for the overall improvement of our electoral process based on your field observations.”
He disclosed that the commission had implemented eight of the 13 schedule of activities published for the conduct of governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo.
“We are now entering the period of submission of names of polling agents by political parties, publication of official register of voters by the commission and the notice of poll.
“The last two activities are closing of campaign by political parties and the climax, which is the elections day proper,” he said.
Haruna disclosed that all non-sensitive materials had been delivered to the three states in required quantities and good quality.
“The production of sensitive materials has been completed and ready for delivery to the three states while the Registration Area Center (RAC) and Collation Center assessment is completed.
“We are seeking the support of the media to create and promote awareness of the PVC collection exercise to boost the number of eligible Nigerians who will come out and vote on election day,” he stressed.
He said the commission had provided braille ballot for visually impaired voters, made available magnifying glass for people with albinism and introduced enlarged posters for voters with hearing impairment.
He said the commission had gone further to integrate into the voting procedure, a process that accorded priority voting for persons with disabilities, vulnerable people like the elderly, pregnant and nursing mothers.
Haruna, who also expressed concern over violence during campaigns in Kogi and Imo, appealed to politicians to allow peace to prevail.
He also assured voters that the commission would not have glitches with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) during the governorship poll.
Earlier, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Imo, Prof. Sylvia Agu, said the engagement was packaged to enlighten media executives on the guidelines, processes and procedures ahead of the governorship election.
“The commission holds the media in high esteem as great partners in progress, and has therefore packaged this program to enhance the awareness and participation of voters in the state.
“In telling of stories, I urge you all to emphasise the gains of participation and the need to protect our democracy,” Agu said.
In his remarks, the state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Mr Ifeanyi Nwanguma, said the media would continue to support INEC to ensure free, fair and credible Imo governorship election.
Nwanguma, however, appealed to security agencies to see journalists as partners in progress during and after the governorship election in the state.
“I strongly believe that together, we can achieve violence-free and credible governorship election come Nov. 11,” he added. (NAN)