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2023: INEC warns politicians against vote buying

INEC presents certificates to Saturday’s by-election winners

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday gave politicians and political parties stern warning against engaging in buying Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Festus Okoye, an INEC national commissioner, who handed out the warning at a capacity-building workshop for journalists in Ibadan, said that the current system adopted by the electoral body had foreclosed any form of malpractices relating to identity theft.

According to him, nothing will deny the right of any registered voter to cast their vote, except identity theft. It was the only reason why the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) will not read a PVC.

Okoye, the chairman of, the INEC Information and Voter Education Committee, represented by Ndidi Okafor, the Deputy Director on Voter Education and Gender said that one of the objectives of the capacity building workshop was to provide an opportunity for journalists to be aware of the key activities of the electoral body in the coming 2023 general election.

He stressed the urgent need for journalists to accurately report INEC activities before, during and after the 2023 election.

”A journalist is talking about the Electoral Act , he must know that there was Electoral Act 2010, and that what the country is operating currently is no longer Electoral Act 2010, but the 2022 Electoral Act. If you don’t know this , you cannot be able to inform the public accurately. So, that is one of the objectives of the workshop, ” she stated.

The capacity building workshop was facilitated by the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ) and supported by INEC and those present at the workshop were leaders of the NUJ including the National President, Chris Isiguzo, represented by a National Trustee member, Abimbola Oyetunde, the Vice President, Zone B, Ronke Samo, the National Trustee member, Bayo Akamo, the Oyo state NUJ Chairman, Ademola Babalola , and leaders of the NUJ in the state.

Others present include top ranking officials of the INEC among whom are the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter’s Education, Festus Okoye, represented by a Deputy Director in the Commission, Ndidi Okafor, INEC Head of Legal Services, Faith Okorie, INEC Administrative Secretary, Abiodun Onikate-Amosu, and the INEC Head of Voters’ Education, Rosemary Alaba Adeniyi.

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The INEC official however urged journalists to discharge social responsibilities, while ensuring those in public offices are accountable to the people.

Okoye said that the training was to further equip journalists on the legal and new system to be deployed by INEC toward a credible 2023 general elections.

“Journalism raises alarm, but such should not be a false alarm. Let me remind you all that accuracy should override speed.

“It is compulsory to uphold objectivity and apply a great sense of responsibility. The media is a great stakeholder in the electoral process,” he said.

Adeniran Tella, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), said that INEC would always be up and doing as well as available to attend to everything within the ambit of its mandates as enshrined in the Constitution.

While saying that information was very apt as the 2023 general election approaches Tella, represented by the Administrative Secretary, Abiodun Amosun-Onikate, noted that media was a major factor in fostering democracy, adding that the media play major role in keeping the citizens abreast of the current events and raising awareness in any society.

However, the Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ) has called on the Federal Government to provide bailout funds for media houses to serve as a lifeline for journalists struggling to survive after the deadly surge of Covid-19 virus.

The bailout funds, according to the NUJ leadership, should be specially dedicated to support journalists to continue to carry out their statutory role of nation building.

The state Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ) ,Oyo state Council, Ademola Babalola
said just like the government bails other critical sectors of the economy by providing life support funds, media houses could also be given life support funds by the Federal Government due to the critical role the media plays in nation building.

In the last few years, many journalists have been thrown out of jobs, while those still in the system were owed several months of salaries, with attendant effects on the growth and development of the profession.

The NUJ chairman while lamenting the deplorable condition of many journalists in the country, opined that with intervention of the Federal Government, comatose media houses can be revived, while many journalists could be gainfully employed.

The union also warned journalists against any attempt to deviate from the ethics of the profession because it will not augur well for the country.

Speaking also, Chris Isiguzo, NUJ National President, warned against any attempt to deviate from the ethics of the profession while reporting activities of the electoral body.

Isiguzo, who was represented by the NUJ national trustee in charge of Zone F, Abimbola Oyetunde, also hinted that the union was ready to work with INEC to ensure that democracy works properly in the country.

The NUJ President said that the role of the media in Nigeria’s emerging democracy is crucial.