Posted by Effiong Udousoroh, Uyo | 2 March 2015 | 3,251 times
Nigerians, domestic and international observers, have been assured that materials for the fast-approaching 2015 general elections in the country will be delivered 12 hours to the commencement of the elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, Barr. Austin Eni Okojie, gave the assurance Thursday in Uyo at a two-day workshop on “Responsible Reporting of The 2015 General Elections” organised for media practitioners and civil society organisations in the state.
Barr. Okojie, who delivered a lecture on the topic, “Election Management and Delivery in Nigeria: Will INEC pass The Acid Test?’ cited the Ekiti and Osun state governorship elections of last year. “In these two elections which INEC conducted recently, election materials, both sensitive and non-sensitive, arrived our Registration Area Camps (RACs) centres 24 hours before the conduct of the elections,” he stated.
Some other innovations to enhance credible election, he stated, include the Creation of FORM EC 40G series, to ensure that cases where elections are cancelled or not held are recorded for accountability; the engagement of lecturers from tertiary institutions as collation and returning officers; creation of voting points to accelerate the voting process and prevent unusual congestion of voters; creation of FORM EC 8A VP; and giving more rooms for the accreditation of observers to observe the voting proceedings.
Others, he added, are the application of Automated Finger Identification System (AFIS) in the voters register to check multiple registration; introduction of trial of electoral offenders; Introduction of Situation Control Room at the National Headquarters and states; re-organisation and re-positioning INEC for sustained conduct of free, fair and credible election; adaptation of Re-modified Open Secret Ballot system; and creation of Registration Area Camps (RCAs) for polling officials, to prevent late commencement of poll, among other innovations.
On Systematic Collation an Announcement of Election Results, Barr. Okojie quoted Section 27 (1) (As Amended), which made provision to the effect that: “The Presiding Officer shall announce the votes cast at the Polling Unit; The Ward Collation Officer shall do so at the Ward Collation Centres and the Local Government Area Collation Officer shall also announce the votes cast at the Local Government Collation Centre.”
“The State Collation Officer shall announce the result at the State Collation Centre, while at the Constituency level, the Collation Officer collates the votes cast and return the winner,” the REC stated.
He warned that “it would be unlawful for any individual or group to announce result not declared by INEC or its official.”
Barr. Okojie, urged media practitioners, in particular, to exercise patience and “wait until INEC announces and declares election results,” saying that “INEC will pass the 2015 acid test.”
News Express reports that other prominent personalities who served as resource persons at the occasion included, Prof. Aniefiok Essien of the Faculty of Law, University of Uyo, who spoke on ‘Legal Imperatives for Responsible Reporting of Elections’; Prof. Adolphe Amadi, Global Communication Practitioner, who lectured on ‘Recurrent Issues in Nigeria’s General Elections: Are They Insurmountable?’ while Mr. Toma Minti, Director, Department of State Services (DSS), Akwa Ibom State, presented a paper on ‘Security Issues in Pre-election Reporting and Implications’.
Others were Mr. Ogbuagu Anikwe, a media scholar, whose paper was on ‘Coverage of Electioneering and Consequences of Sensational Reporting’; Mr. Segun Adeniyi, Columnist and former Presidential Spokesman, who presented a paper on ‘Journalistic Ethics and Conflict of Interest in Election Reporting; and Mr. Gabriel Achong, Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State (represented by a Deputy Commissioner of Police), who lectured on ‘Post-election Conflict: Causes, Prevention and Management’.
•Photo shows INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega.
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