IPC holds one-day stakeholders’ dialogue on electoral reforms, trust building

-urges journalists to curb misinformation that may undermine democracy

By Samuel Ogunsona

Stakeholders from the media, labour, political class and the academic community on Monday urged Nigerians to rebuilt trust in order to reclaim the country’s ebbing fortunes.

The summit organised by International Press Centre, (IPC) with the support of the European Union, (EU) noted that for democracy to thrive, the citizens need rebuild public trust in electoral institutions as a way to further deepen commitments to multi-sectoral collaborative frameworks.

The dialogue tagged “Multi-Stakeholders Dialogue on Rebuilding Trust in the Electoral Process, Institutions and Elections” was held at the Raddison Blue Hotel located in Lagos. The Chairman of the event was Election Administrstion Expert, Development Alternatives Incorporated, (DAI) Prof Okechukwu Ibeanu

IPC summit in collaboration with the lead implementing partners of component4 (Support to media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria Phase 2 (EUSDGN II) project saw the presence of more than 100 multi-stakeholders from across the country.

The Executive Director, International Press Centre (IPC), Mr Lanre Arogundade, in his key note address explained that the aim of the meeting was to harness observations and recommendations on how the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) among other electoral stakeholders can effectively play the roles in deepening the process for credible elections in Nigeria.

Prof Ibeanu said one of the major problems of Nigeria was the decline of trust. He said this is clear in the attitude of Nigerians when they collect money from ATM machines but still go ahead to count the money.

Speaking in his address on The Role of Critical Stakeholders in Rebuilding Trust in Electoral Processes, Institutions and Elections in Nigeria’ Professor of African History,Peace and Conflict Studies at the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, Prof Issax Albert said there is also the problem of perception

He said “Perception-wise, misconception-wise, or reality-wise, it cannot be denied that some contentious issues arising from the 2023 elections have created mistrust among Nigerians. It’s in the public domain that the elections met with some unexpected challenges which ordinarily shouldn’t overshadow its significant milestones including the meticulous preparation and the use of technology for voting via BVAS which remain highly commendable.”

Participants said there poor governance is partly as a result of the general feelings among voters that their votes do not count while barter of votes for cash continue to undermine the credibility of elections.

Mr Arogundade urged media practitioners to curb mis-disinformation that may undermine the credibility of electoral process and elections in Nigeria.

“As in journalism, bad news spreads faster than good news. Some of those challenges have elicited local and international observations including the one led by the European Union, Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM), which highlighted elements of waning public confidence and trust in the electoral process,” he explained.

The former Rector Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Mr Gbenga Ogunleye called on journalists to practice the profession in accordance with ethics and best standards.

The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Mahmood Yakubu was represented by Prof. Ayobami Salami, who is the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos State, while, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, Election Administration Expert, Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI) chaired the event.

Others at the event were representatives of Kukah Centre, National Youth Council of Nigeria, (NYCN), Ansar -ud-deen Society of Nigeria, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria,(PFN), ElectHer, WARDC and the Centre for Constituitional Developement, (CCD).

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