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Journalists As Critical Stakeholders During 2023 Elections

By Sampson Uhuegbu, Owerri

All is now getting set for the long-awaited 2023 general election. It is assumed that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has concluded its registration of voters and perfected plans for a hitch-free excercise.

The Electoral umpire is expected to strongly arrange itself and prepare for the forthcoming polls. Reasons the INEC should make a good arrangement towards ensuring that blames are not apportioned on them by the millions of Nigerians who can be said to be in pains and agony due to hardship in the economy.

Roles the Journalists play during the general elections can not be over-emphasized. These involve information education and enlightenment of the general public on the need to participate in the franchise which is one the unallieniated enshrined civic responsibilities as the Nigerian citizens.

As agents of positive change, Journalists are being looked upon to preach tolerance, oneness, unity of purpose and go- ahead in their continued social cooperate responsibilities towards ensuring the country is made a better place for people of all enthnic groups.
Former President of journalist of the Cameroon Radio and Television, Comrade Joseph Chebongkeng Kalabubse, at the end of a two-day workshop organized by the Network for Solidarity, Empowerment and Transformation for All (NSETA), on the theme: “Media, Peace and Elections” to train journalists in ensuring journalistic fairness, social justice, truth telling and be sure of sources their news- reports remain educative, entertaining and enlightening to the society.

It is the role of INEC to properly educate the electorate in respect to the political parties they want to vote for. They have to enlighten the population on the respect of the right of orders, preach tolerance and forgiveness during election periods

The former Cameroon Journalists president, challenged even Nigerian media practitioners to embrace objectivity while reporting an events that have to do with the forthcoming 2023 general elections in the country of which everyone is looking forward to see as a transparent exercise.

Journalists should never derail from being the eyes and ears of the people as the had been generally deemed. Also, they should always respect the tenets of the journalism profession expecially now the 2023 elections are glaringly becoming different polls in Nigeria unlike what had been obtainable.

Gentlemen of the press are to show a high sense of fairness in their reportage, consider the weight of what they say, be careful with the words used since they have the moral responsibility to the public.

However, Security agencies who shall be monitoring the forthcoming election are expected to see Journalists as partners in progress by allowing them to do their job without harassment. After all, media practitioners are also those on essential duties just like the Security and Medical practitioners.

The INEC, on its responsibility, should carry the media along in the scheme of their mapped- out official duties so as not to keep the public in suspense; as well as clearing any form of insinuation that could have been sorrounding their operations.

Moreso, various candidates, party stakeholders and polling agents need to shun all activities that could jeopardize the polls. Everyone should behave responsibly and ensure they participate actively in the forthcoming exercise.

Most importantly, it is expedient to state here that without proper funding, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC would be visibly impotent to deliver as anticipated by all Nigerians. On the other hand, the Umpire should regularly address the Press in order to disseminate the information to the public.

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