The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has advised media organisations not to allow their platforms be used to promote hate speech and fake news in the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
Okoye said that INEC acknowledged the positive and critical role media played as partners in informing and enlightening the public on the democratic and electoral processes.
“We also recognize you as gatekeepers and agenda setters, hence our desire to partner and cooperate with you at all times.
“You hold a public trust and as such you have the duty to promote the common good.
Consequently, you must do all you can to promote peace and harmony in our community at all times.
“Conversely, you should not allow your platforms to be used to promote hate speech and fake news or exacerbate historic, cultural, religious, ethnic or other primordial fault lines.
“Mistrust, strife and conflict, which are some of the end or by products of these, run contrary to democratic ethos and tend to undermine the process,’’ Okoye said.
He said that the media was indispensable in the task of nation building and instituting a new democratic and electoral order in Nigeria.
He said that media practitioners must not and should not depend on rumours, innuendoes, gossip and fake news in reporting the electoral process.
Okoye urged the media to report accurately and knowledgeably, saying “we are not asking for special favour, but accurate reporting of issues in the electoral process.
“You must know that your stories and reports have national security implications as one false report, especially during elections can lead to breakdown of law and order.
“We will be on hand to explain and clarify grey issues and grey areas and I urge you to seize the opportunity of our presence to enrich your reportage.’’
Okoye advised the participants of the workshop to avail themselves relevant electoral documents in the coverage of elections.
These according to him include Nigeria Constitution 1999(as amended), the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended), copies of the Regulations, Guidelines, Manuals, Gazettes and other electoral documents issued by the commission.
INEC Deputy Director, Publicity, Mr Aliyu Bello, said that the workshop was informed by the desire to sensitise media practitioners on processes and procedures for elections, particularly as it applies to Kogi.
Bello said it was also to create awareness on use of basic concepts and terminologies in the Electoral Process Bello.
“You will agree with me that, overtime the Commission keeps improving the Electoral Process to meet the aspirations of Nigerians.
“Arising from these improvements, a number of innovations have been made, thereby enriching, sometimes adding or changing the lexicography of electoral terminologies.’’
Bello said that reporters covering electoral beats and other stakeholders were often exposed to use of certain terminologies, which were often technical.
He said the terminologies could be challenging for persons who have not familiarised themselves with them to adequately comprehend what the umpire was talking about when it used such terms.
“The situation becomes worse when applied incorrectly during coverage.’’(NAN)
Edited by Felix Ajide
Akeredolu says Lyon’s victory in Bayelsa turning point for APC
Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on Monday congratulated the Governor-elect of Bayelsa, Chief David Lyon, describing his victory in the Saturday’s governorship election as a major turning point for APC.
In a statement signed by Mr Ojo Oyewamide, Senior Special Assistant to Akeredolu on Media and Publicity, in Akure, the governor also congratulated his Kogi counterpart, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, on his re-election.
Akeredolu equally congratulated the APC – All Progressives Congress – for victory in the elections.
“The outcomes of the elections in the two states have, once again, endeared the APC to the hearts of the people.
“For Chief David Lyon, the Governor-elect of Bayelsa, his emergence is a major turning point.
“The Bayelsa feat is a great leap. All those who toiled to bring to fruition, this comforting berth deserve commendation,” he said.
“The real victory belongs to those who sacrificed their time and energy for the successful conduct of the two elections.
“As Chairmen of the APC National Campaign Councils for the two elections, they displayed dexterity on all fronts with candour and thoroughness. All members of both councils deserve no less commendations.
“INEC, security agencies and even the participants also contributed in no small measure to the outcomes,”Akeredolu said.
Edited by Remi Koleoso/Ijeoma Popoola
Why we visited Jonathan — APC leaders
Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa, said they visited former President Goodluck Jonathan after Saturday’s governorship elections in recognition of his position as the father and leader of the state.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, led APC leaders including governor-elect David Lyon, to visit the former president’s home on Monday.
Sylva noted that as a former president and leader of the State, Jonathan deserved to be respected and honoured by all Bayelsa people, irrespective of their party leanings.
“Being a former president of the country and a past governor of the State, Jonathan remains an asset to the state and his inputs will always be needed to advance the course of governance in the Bayelsa.
“As such it was important for us to introduce the governor-elect to him and seek his support and guidance in building a better Bayelsa,” he said.
Responding, Jonathan tasked Lyon to put the welfare and interest of the Bayelsa people above every other issue.
“As a former president of Nigeria, I am a father to all Bayelsans, hence my doors are open to all citizens irrespective of their political affiliations.
“I urge you to make the welfare of Bayelsa people a top priority and carry all of them along irrespective of the party they voted for.
“Elections are over now, so I want you to see yourself as the governor of all and not only to the sections that voted for you. This is the way to move Bayelsa forward,” he stated.
Jonathan also condemned the violence in some parts of the state during the elections, describing it as unfortunate and regrettable.
He said the nation’s democracy would never mature if the violence and irregularities during elections continued.
Edited by Joseph Edeh/Donald Ugwu
Gbajabiamila, Wase congratulate Bello, Lyon
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has congratulated Gov. Yahaya Bello and Mr David Lyon, of All Progressives Congress (APC) for emerging victorious in Kogi and Bayelsa governorship poll.
In separate congratulatory messages, the lawmaker said the victory recorded by the candidates was an indication of the wide acceptance the party enjoyed in the two states.
Gbajabiamila said that Bayelsa in particular, had joined the `Next Level’ train, having seen the massive change driven by the APC-led government at the federal level.
“This is a testimony that Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country are beginning to realise what the APC meant for the country.
“This victory is not for the party or its members alone, but for the entirety of Nigerians.
“May I call on the two governors-elect to be magnanimous in victory; The APC stands for the good of Nigerians, and I know the two governors-elect are part of the journey to make Nigeria better,” the Speaker said.
He called on the people of the states, including members of the opposition, to join hands with the governors-elect to make their states great.
Similarly, the Deputy Speaker, Mr Ahmed Wase implored the governors-elect to work closely with all persons and interest groups to move the states to the next level.
Wase appealed to the people of the two states to remain law-abiding as transition to new administration had started in earnest.
Wase advised the electoral umpire to properly appraise all aspects of the exercise and improve for future poll where necessary.
Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi/Ali Baba-Inuwa
APC thanks Bayelsa, Kogi electorate over victory
In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC congratulated all Nigerians, its teeming supporters and members for the hard-earned election victory.
According to Issa-Onilu, indeed, these victories are as significant as are well-deserved.
“In Kogi, our great party is delighted that the good people of the state ignored the propaganda and clannish campaign by the opposition and reelected our candidate, Gov. Yahaya Bello. We cannot thank the Kogi electorate enough.
“Although, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the senatorial election in Kogi West inconclusive, we are confident that when the supplementary election is held, our candidate, Sen. Smart Adeyemi will reclaim his earlier stolen mandate.
“Our party’s victory in Bayelsa is even more of a landmark. Against all odds and in defiance of the established but retrogressive political order since 1999, Bayelsans decided through their votes to overwhelmingly elect our governorship candidate, David Lyon,” he said.
According to him, this is a sacred trust our candidate and party will not take for granted.
“The party expresses its profound appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for his moral support for our candidates; the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, our governors and other party leaders for their support and distinguished presence at our rallies in Kogi and Bayelsa.
He said that the party dedicated its election successes to the good people of the two states with a solemn promise that victorious candidates would justify the confidence reposed in them.
“There remains much to be done in ensuring the sanctity of our electioneering process, particularly partisan approach to elections.
“The PDP must begin to address itself to the new reality that votes are beginning to count. PDP’s retrogressive tactics of massive thumb printing, ballot box snatching, vote buying, thuggery, violence and other illegal schemes will no longer win election for them,” he said.
Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa
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Deputy Speaker calls for lower penalties in hate speech bill
Deputy Speaker of Cross River House of Assembly, Hon. Joseph Bassey, has called for the reconsideration of penalties contained in the hate speech bill to avoid its negative effect on the citizens.
Bassey, who made the call in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Calabar, warned that the proposed death penalty was likely to be misunderstood and misapplied to the detriment of ordinary Nigerians.
NAN reports that the bill seeking to establish the National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech was sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip in the Senate, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi.
It prescribes death penalty for anyone found guilty of spreading a falsehood that leads to the death of another person.
The bill also seeks the establishment of a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Specch to help investigate and prosecute offenders.
A similar bill was introduced to the Senate on March 2018 for consideration and passage; it, however, did not make it through to third reading.
The reintroduction of the bill has generated controversies among Nigerians.
The Deputy Speaker said that burning issues like kidnapping, armed robbery, militancy, banditry, corruption and poor road network needed utmost attention by the government and Senate legislation.
He, however, advised for a jail term and an option of fine for those found wanting of hate speech in other to serve as a deterrent to others.
“In Nigeria, we spend more times on things that are not important. First, we have serious issues of insecurity in this country. Even manslaughter is not death by hanging, not to talk of words of mouth to now warrant death.
“Today, those who are prosecuted for corruption which is more dangerous than hate speech because it has to do with stealing public funds are now entering into plea bargain for their freedom,” he said.
The lawmaker called on the lawmaker representing Cross River South in the National Assembly not to vote in support of the bill, ‘’praying it doesn’t scale through second reading.’’
Bassey said that as a lawmaker, he has sampled people’s opinions on the bill and found that Nigerians were against the bill.
“When a common man is helpless, the only way out is to speak his mind and that might amount into hate speech which is not completely good; but we must at all times try not to make things worse for them,” he said.
Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Ismail Abdulaziz
Senate President congratulates Kogi, Bayelsa Governors-elect
He also rejoiced with David Lyon for making history as the first governor Bayelsa has elected on a platform different from the outgoing ruling party in the state.
The Senate President praised President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring a level playing field that enabled the people to assert their sovereignty and choose their leaders.
“The impressive turnout of voters in the two states is a ringing endorsement of democracy by Nigerians as their preferred system, notwithstanding its current challenges,” Lawan said.
He also thanked the security personnel for their sacrifices for peace and order in the face of great difficulties.
The Senate President enjoined the winners to be magnanimous in victory by accommodating all sections of the state in their governments and development agenda.
Lawan also admonished the electoral umpire to learn from the challenges experienced in the two states with a view to constantly improving its institutional performance and the electoral process.
He called on all relevant agencies to ensure thorough prosecution of the electoral offenders in the two states to serve as deterrence to others.
Edited by Modupe Adeloye/Felix Ajide
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