By Deborah Coker
A development consultant, Mr Jide Ojo, has called on the media and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to assist in bolstering peoples’ trust and confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Ojo made the call on Tuesday in Abuja, in his presentation at a one-day roundtable organised by the International Press Centre (IPC) for the media and CSOs.
The roundtable had as its theme, “Re-examining the Role of Critical Stakeholders in Rebuilding Trust in the Electoral Processes and Institutions.”
Ojo noted that there was the need for a symbiotic relationship among the three institutions.
He added that, however, INEC had a lot of house cleaning to do ahead of the Feb. 3, re-run and by-elections as well as future elections.
“There is no gainsaying that the media and Civil Society Organisations need to assist INEC to bolster people’s trust and confidence in the electoral management body,” he said.
He stressed that there was the need for INEC to do a quick fix to enhance the trust and confidence of the citizens, especially the electorate.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Mr Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director, IPC, said the event, along with other previous initiatives, were being implemented by IPC within Component 4 (Support to media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria-Phase 2 (EUSDGN II) project.
Arogundade said the framework of the project, which began in 2022, was to strengthen the role of the media in promoting democratic governance through fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive coverage of electoral processes and elections in Nigeria.
He noted that the roundtable was organised because the 2023 general elections came with unexpected challenges, though they accomplished significant milestones, particularly in the use of technology for voting via BVAS.
He added that the challenges led to extensive observations both from national and international observers, which partly reflected waning public confidence and trust in the electoral process.
According to him, along this line the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM) report on the elections made 23 recommendations for improvement.
“Additionally, IPC’s media monitoring activity of 20 print/online media and INEC social media over the past one year has also revealed some elements of negative perception by some citizens about the electoral processes and outcomes.
“While there are those too who hold that things were not as bad as portrayed,” said Arogundade.
According to him, in general, however, the observations show that election stakeholders still have much work to do individually and collectively to rebuild trust.
“Therefore, as we approach two off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States this year 2024, and in view of the next general elections in 2027, this activity is deemed necessary.
“This is to aid the process of developing strategic interventions that can contribute towards regaining public trust, while promoting the delivery of free, fair, peaceful and credible elections in the country,” he said. (NAN)
Edited by Salif Atojoko