INEC Urged Not To Abandon Use Of BVAS In Conducting 2023 General Election
Independent National Electoral Communication ( INEC ) has been urged to resist pressure from some political actors to abandon the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System ( BVAS ) in the forthcoming 2023 general election , saying the machines will ensure credible exercise .
This was the position of participants at a two-day workshop on Conflicts Sensitive Reporting in 2023 General Elections and Ways of Countering Fake News for journalists and Civil Society Organizations ( CSOs ) in North West States of Nigeria .
The capacity building workshop was organized by Centre For Democracy and Development ( CDD ) in partnership with Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ ) and Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC ) in an effort to ensure credible 2023 general election by training media practitioners and CSOs on coverage and reporting sensitive issues for a peaceful exercise in February next year .
Participants adopted a 12-point recommendations they said if adhered to , would guide and assist major actors in the 2023 elections to ensure a hitch-free exercise .
The communique , signed by Prof. Yahaya Baba and Abdullahi elKurebe as chairman and secretary of the five member drafting committee charged INEC to intensify efforts on voter education to enable electorate have knowledge about Electoral Acts and voters’ rights .
The position paper also called on the election umpire to ensure a level play ground for all candidates and parties participating in the election .
In view of the important roles of journalists , CSOs and security agencies in ensuring a peaceful exercise next year , the communique stressed the need for the actors to be adequately trained and be guided by Electoral Acts , extant laws , rules and regulations and above all professional ethics in their general conducts and discharge of duties during and after the 2023 elections .
Participants feared the prevalence of fake news in social and conventional media could undermine a peaceful election and therefore , urged media practitioners and CSOs to explore all necessary tools of verifying information before disseminating same to the general public .
The gathering observed that high-risk security areas may be a potent ground for election rigging and figures manipulation because voters may not turn out .
The communique recommended adequate security cover for journalists , CSOs , election officers and above all , the voting public , during and after the general election .
” While conventional news media should strive to avoid peddling fake news , Social Media should be trained on how to identify fake news and CSOs should collaborate with media to expose fake news .
” There is need for Journalists and CSOs collaboration on voter education , interactive sessions btw citizens and candidates of political parties , identification and timely reporting of conflicts sensitive issues with a view to maintaining peace and security before , during and after the 2023 election .
” CSOs and Journalists should launch sustainable campaign on negative consequences of vote-buying and selling .
” Journalists should update the general public on the election process and expose wrongdoings .
” Security agencies should remain neutral and be committed to ensuring peaceful and hitch-free 2023 conduct of elections , ” the communique added .