Dec. 10, 2022
The media and CSOs have been charged to assist INEC in educating the public on accurate information on the electoral processes.
Mr Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee INEC, made the call at a Media/CSO Interface on Saturday in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by International Press Center (PIC) under the EU- Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria Phase 2 project (EU-SDGN 11).
Okoye said: ”There are issues, processes and procedures of the commission that have been cast in a way aimed at confusing the public or discrediting it and the electoral process.
“The application and implementation of the regulations and guidelines by officers of the commission have been a source of misinformation and disinformation.”
According to Okoye, there is deliberate injection of confusion in the processes when some persons started circulating information that registered voters do not need their PVCs to vote in any election.
He added: “Poor understanding of the commission’s processes, procedures and hasty conclusions by some of the critical stakeholders in the electoral process have not made the transition from the EA, 2010(as amended) to the EA, 2022 easy.
” They are still quoting sections of the law that have either been repealed or amended.
“A regime of misinformation and disinformation has been afoot in relation to the deployment of technology in the electoral process especially the introduction of the BVAS for voter accreditation and authentication.
” Issues have been raised and are still being raised on its functionality, efficacy of its use and the capacity of the commission to deploy the technology.”
According to him, the commission had integrated the existing voters register that had over 84million registered voters with the CVR figure and displayed the provisional register containing 93, 522, 272.
Okoye said,”the threshold for winning the presidential and governorship positions quoting section 134 of the constitution enjoins the commission to prepare for every possible scenario and eventuality.”
According to him, candidates for presidential and governorship elections must meet the numerical and geographical threshold in section 134(2) and 178(2) of the constitution to be declared the winners of the election.
“In default, the constitution prescribes a second election within a period of 21 days between two candidates.
” The candidate who scored the highest number of votes and one among the remaining candidates who has a majority of votes in the highest number of states and also secures a quarter that is 2/3 of votes cast in all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT wins.
“In this second election, for a candidate to be declared as a winner of the election, he must also score the highest number of votes and also secure the geographical threshold.
“And if no candidate secures this threshold and this numerical threshold, they will go into a third election in which the person who now secures a simply majority will be declared as having won the election,” he said.
On his part, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Chairman, Editorial Board of Premium Times, expressed concern over the issue of misinformation and disinformation, which he said threatened the country’s democracy.
He decried that opinions were formed not on the basis of truth but on misinformation.
“People base their opinion on fact and evidence based opinion they have heard and seen from media, experts, academic, religious leaders who are all specialists in determining different facets of truth.
” So, listening to such citizens as actors in a democracy form their opinion.
” The new interlocutor, the handset has disrupted the messages and fills the information space with falsehood,” Okoye said.
Earlier in his welcome remark, Mr Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director, PIC reiterated the need for development of collaborative strategies by the media, the CSOs and INEC on curbing electoral disinformation and misinformation.
“For us in the media, it is also a straight forward case that we cannot effectively perform the function of providing citizens with the information they need to make informed choices at elections.
“The media task in the above regard, is further complicated by the penchant of the politicians to tell blatant lies to score cheap political points,” he said.
According to him, the expected result 5 of component 4 of the EU-SDGN 11 called on the media, including new and social media to provide fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive coverage of the electoral process. (NAN)