2019: NUJ Lagos, INEC seek path to free and fair elections


The Chairman of the Lagos State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Dr. Qasim Akinreti, has called for collaboration between the Independent National Electoral Commission and the union.
Akinreti said there is the need to build a relationship because 2019 general election is crucial to Nigeria and the world and the INEC must assure Nigerians of level playing field.
Akinreti lamented the slow process in the registration and collection of Permanent Voters Cards, explaining that the INEC needed to collaborate with media organisations to ensure that Nigerians, most especially Lagosians, collect their PVC.
He presented the Code of Conduct for Election coverage for journalists of the 2019 election to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Sam Olumekun, and urged INEC to ensure that those who cover the election are registered members of the NUJ.
Responding, Olumekun said INEC has so far registered no fewer than 750,000 new voters in Lagos, preparatory to the 2019 general elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner said on assumption of office, he met about 1.4 million uncollected PVCs, but today the number has been reduced to about 1.3 million.
The REC spoke during a courtesy visit by the Executive Committee members of the NUJ Lagos State Council, saying that the commission would be embarking on sensitisation programme to ensure that Lagosians who have registered come to collect their PVC.
He restated that the extension of INEC Continuous Voters Registration ends August 31, explaining that the remaining months before the election would be used by INEC for administrative processes, especially printing of the PVC.
He called for the understanding of Lagosians, explaining that INEC is working hard to ensure they conduct a free, fair and credible in 2019.
Olumekun urged the media to assist in fighting vote buying, especially as this new menace in the electoral system is anti-democratic, adding that the press plays a critical role in development of democracy in any society.
The media, Olumekun said, must be in the forefront of deepening democracy in Nigeria and that the organisations must assist the INEC in sensitising Nigerians for the collection of PVCs.
He Commended the NUJ for the production of the revised Code of Conduct for election coverage and called on it to also regulate the activities of bloggers.