As INEC partners journalists for polls
By Oginyi Ruth
Two weeks to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission, has maintained stance towards partnering with media practitioners in order to conduct free fair and credible elections that meet international standards.
The commission also warned media practitioners especially online publishers (bloggers) against publishing results in their media when INEC has not officially declared and announced such results.
The National Commissioner in charge of Anambra, Enugu and Benue States and Chairman of INEC Information and Voter Education, Barr Festus Okoye gave the warning when stated this in Awka Anambra state.
Speaking, while addressing heads of media organizations both print and broadcast stations at a Sensitization Forum for Media organizations in South East and South South Zones of the country, Okoye charged journalists to be informed of the relevant section of the constitution in the discharge of their duties.
The media forum was aimed at addressing the challenges and other matters in the pre, and post election periods.
Okoye stressed that it is very important for media houses and journalists to take note of the electoral act and the 2019 election guidelines in the discharge of their role in the 2019 general elections.
“There are election relevant and specific materials that are germane to your work and knowledge of these documents will enrich the quality of your products and show you and your media organizations as purveyors of relevant information for the consumption of the Nigerian people.
“You must have a copy of the Nigeria 1999 constitution ( as amended ) . The constitution is the fundamental law of the land and all other laws are dependent and flow from its provisions. The second is the electoral Act, 2010 ( as amended )”.
“By section 123(4) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended ) any person who announces or publishes an election result knowing same to be false or which is at variance with the signed certificate of return commits an offence and is liable on conviction to 36 months imprisonment”, he said.
While the INEC National Commissioner appealed to the media to do their job diligently, he warned that any electoral officer who commits an offence on the elections day will go in for it.
In a remark, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, represented by the Administrative Secretary of the Commission in the State, Mr. Charles Mbanaja, called on media practitioners to ensure they avoid being used to disseminate false information or propagate hate speeches.