The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged journalists
to be factual, objective and professional in their reportage of the July 16 governorship election in Osun.
Mr Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education of the commission, made the plea on Saturday at a Capacity Building Workshop for Journalists in Osogbo.
Okoye said that journalists covering the election must on no account interfere with the processes and procedures or in anyway distract the Presiding Officers in the performance of their duties.
He said: “The media must, on no account, attempt to know or report on the way someone has voted.
“The secrecy of the ballot is at the heart of the democratic process.
“The media must also not make any declaration or return of any election as it is the exclusive preserve of the commission.”
Okoye said that the commission had reduced the pernicious human interference in the electoral process and deepened democracy through greater use of technology.
Also, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, the Chief Technical Adviser to INEC Chairman, said that no electorate would be allowed to vote without finger and facial accreditation.
Eyinla also said that the Bimodal Accreditation System (BIVAS), would be used during the election.
“BIVAS will be used during the election and where it malfunction, it will be replaced as soon as possible.
“And, where it cannot be replaced, the election in that area would be rescheduled till the next day.
“Also, areas where BIVAS is not used or there is violence or over voting, the area will record zero vote,” he said.
In his remarks, Prof. Abdulganiy Raji, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, said the commission was well prepared for the conduct of the election.
Raji said that INEC had received all necessary non-sensitive materials for the conduct of the election.
Also, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, urged journalists to familiarise themselves with the social media handles of the commission for updates.
Oyekanmi also appealed to journalists to be objective in reporting election news.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that print, online, as well as broadcast journalists were present at the workshop.(NAN)