THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has reassured Nigerians that the country’s electoral activities would be protected from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the implementation of specific measures.
Prof. Yakubu, on Wednesday, at the commission’s first virtual consultative meeting with media organizations, solicited media support in disseminating information that would help to safeguard the health of voters and INEC personnel involved in electoral activities.
He told the media organizations that “the Commission believes that your opinions and suggestions will be of immense benefit to our electoral activities.
“The Commission values your contributions to policy formulation and implementation.”
The INEC chairman said that the pandemic had caused a rethink of many activities, which hitherto had been taken for granted, and “with regard to the conduct of elections, the world is clearly sailing through uncharted waters.”
He pointed out that only a few countries have conducted elections since the pandemic broke out in December 2019.
Yakubu pledged INEC’s continued partnership with the media on voter education and disclosed that an online portal had been set up for media accreditation for Edo and Ondo states governorship elections.
According to him, “the forthcoming Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections as well as many bye-elections across the country will not be different” in the relationship between the Commission and media organisations in the accreditation of journalists to cover elections.
“However, in tandem with the new health reality, accreditation of media organisations for these elections will be done online through a dedicated portal,” Yakubu said.
The President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, commended INEC in the steps it has taken so far in conducting elections during pandemic.
He pledged the support of media organizations and called on the commission to give the same support to the media, especially for them to carry out their responsibilities without any form of harassment by the security agencies.