As preparations for the 2019 general elections gather momentum, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in consonance with its tradition of training and retraining staff to deliver free, fair and credible elections, has organised a one-day capacity building workshop for its Public affairs officers nationwide.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), INEC Enugu, State, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, while declaring the workshop open yesterday in Enugu, described it as apt and vital to the success of the 2019 general elections.
Represented by the administrative secretary in the state, Mr Eyinnnaya Onyekwere, the REC noted that the electoral process is currently knowledge-driven. He said that the workshop was in line with the commission’s Election Project Plan as it is aimed at empowering the participants with the required knowledge and skills to promote sound knowledge of the electoral process.
The RE implored the participants from the 36 states and the FCT to take advantage of the workshop to improve their knowledge and capacity to project the image of the commission in order to have a successful 2019 general elections.
The Director, Voter Education and Publicity Department, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, represented by the Deputy Director, Publicity, Aliyu Bello, challenged the participants thus: “the commission expects only the best from you. You in collaboration with respective management in the state offices owe Nigerians the duty to inform, enlighten and educate all stakeholders on the processes and procedures for the 2019 elections”.
Osaze-Uzzi continued: “your duty to inform and enlighten citizens on innovations to transform and improve the process should be pursued with vigour. You must ensure that you work tirelessly to promote effective and enlightened participation in the process, including Youths, Women and the IDPs”.
The Director VEP harped on the need to tackle fake news in the electoral process. He said: “You find that most time the social media is at the fore front of breaking the news but unless care is taken some of the ‘breaking news’, when they break on social media platforms, they break incorrectly.
Speaking on the “Effective use of Social Media in Voter Education and Public Enlightenment”, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, noted that no amount of money can be adequate for voter education and advertisement by the Commission due size and spread of the country, hence recommending that the use of the social media to educate and enlighten the general public in the electoral process is key.
The Country Director of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Mrs Uloma Osuala, while also buttressing the need for information management in the electoral process, said “you will all agree with me that the fast evolution of technology and social media has changed the pattern of information dissemination. This surely has a lot of advantages and the commission must continue to take advantage of these new tools available for information dissemination and management of media towards the 2019 elections and beyond”.
Osuala pledged the continued support of the IFES to building a sustainable electoral process in Nigeria.
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