The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has accredited 1,255 journalists from 94 media organisations for the off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states scheduled for Saturday, November 11, 2023.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, confirmed this on Thursday at the fourth and last quarterly consultative meeting with the media for this year that was held at the conference room of the electoral body in Abuja.
“We are proud of our close collaboration with the media. With 83 media organisations (print, broadcast and online) represented by 130 journalists, the INEC Press Corps is one of the most diverse and vibrant in Nigeria. This close partnership will be sustained and strengthened,” Yakubu said.
“Similarly, you may recall that at our last meeting, we promised to share with you our plans and preparations for the off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States.
“I am glad to note that many of you here today are either directly involved in the coverage of the election or deploying teams of journalists to the three States.
“In fact, our updated statistics show that 94 media organisations, deploying 1,255 personnel, have been accredited for the elections.
“In the next few days, the accredited media organisations will be notified of the date for the collection of the identity cards for their officials.”
Yakubu said that election is a multi-stakeholder activity and in INEC discharging its responsibilities, the officials will continue to engage with all stakeholders.
According to him, one of such engagements is with the security agencies because in previous elections, media organisations have expressed concern about the safety of journalists, technical staff and protection of the equipment they deploy on Election Day.
“Similarly, you have on several occasions urged the Commission to intercede with the security agencies to grant you unimpeded access to polling and collation locations,” he stated.
“I want to reassure you that we will continue to do so as we engage with the security agencies both at the national level and in the three States.
“At the same time, I wish to remind all media organisations to strictly adhere to the ethics of your profession. We welcome reports on the election.
“At the same time, you should form a bulwark against fake news. For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission does not believe in censorship.”
Yakubu added that the Electoral Commission has said repeatedly that the best antidote to fake news is greater openness and regular and consistent engagement with stakeholders.
The INEC Chairman told the journalists at the event that the Electoral Commission will continue to work together with them in this regard.