Adhere to ethics in reporting INEC activities, says Yakubu
Commission restates determination to shun elections in violent places.
The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has appealed to the media on the need to adhere to its professional ethics of fairness, objectivity, factual and truthfulness in reporting the activities of the commission.
Besides, he reiterated the commission’s determination to avoid conducting elections in any area that was prone to violence.
Yakubu, his remarks during the 12 All Nigerian Editors’ Conference at Port Harcourt, Rivers State said no election was worth the life of a human being “and we take the safety of our staff and all stakeholders very seriously.”
The INEC boss lamented that some media platforms have digressed from the Code of Ethics for Journalists in reporting on INEC activities in the last couple of months, “most especially some editorial contents and stories.”
He said, “The commission will never conduct or conclude any election that has not met the minimum threshold of credibility under our laws. We have been and will continue to appeal to our politicians to eschew violence and allow peaceful conduct of elections.”
Yakubu noted that most of the daunting problems encountered by the Commission in conducting elections thus far was violence, which manifested in many ways; physical attack, sometimes leading to unfortunate death of INEC staff (ad-hoc and regular), intimidation, completion of result sheets under duress and sundry electoral malpractices. At times, violence takes the form of attack on their offices, facilities and public institutions used as polling centres.
Said he, “You will recall that recently, our office in Khana Local Government in Rivers was burnt down by yet-to-be-identified persons. Many sensitive materials were destroyed in the process. Earlier, Staff of our State Headquarters in Owerri were held hostage by thugs, thereby preventing them from deploying election materials for a re-run election. Suspected hoodlums burnt down our Local Government offices in Dekina and Adavi in Kogi State, while our office and vehicle in Gwagwalada Local Government Area were also vandalized. Besides, a block of classroom at the Central Primary School in Minjibir town in Kano state was burnt down during the recent State Constituency by-election.
“We have thus always ended up with inconclusive elections in all the areas where violence took place. In instances where the Commission could not vouch for the credibility of the process or its outcome, elections were either cancelled in the entire constituency, relying on Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), or in selected Polling Units, relying on Section 53 of the Electoral Act (as amended).”
Speaking on the upcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, Yakubu assured that his Commission was determined to make success out of it. “Already, various stakeholder meetings have been held in Edo State and further consultations are still going on. We have conducted the Continuous Voters Registration Exercise, during which many Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) were distributed and other eligible voters who were not captured in the previous exercise had the opportunity to register. The various parties have already begun their campaigns and we are hopeful that the election will be peaceful.
“On the other hand, the Ondo state election is scheduled to hold on November 26. We are leaving no stone unturned at the Commission and we are also hopeful that the Ondo election will be conducted without any incident,” he disclosed.
He added that the commission was resolute in the bid to consolidate on the gains recorded during the 2015 general elections even as the 2019 elections was less than 1000 days away.
No comments yet