The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has denied rumours making the round that the commission has recruited members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC in the state, as ad-hoc staff for the forthcoming November 16 governorship election.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in Kogi State, Prof. James Apam, made the disclosure on Friday while speaking at a “Sensitization Forum for media executives, bloggers and journalists on Election and Fake News in Kogi State,” organised by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), in partnership with USAID, UKaid and INEC.
According to the REC, there has been a build-up of tension in Kogi and cases of fake news ahead of the election.
He urged media practitioners to check their facts and help check misinformation regarding the Kogi election. He described election as the hallmark of democracy, adding that as media practitioners, they should serve as watchdogs against misinformation in the forthcoming election.
He asserted that no list of ad-hoc staff has been received by the commission, describing as false rumours that APC members have been recruited for the purpose of the governorship poll. He said that only the list of Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs) has been compiled. He disclosed that aside the lists of 255 SPOs, which is generated from federal establishments, the commission was yet to have the list of the 13,000 ASPOs that would be used for the forthcoming governorship election. He said that the commission was committed to conducting credible polls in Kogi.
“The commission will be transparent and fair in the conduct of the forthcoming November governorship election, and I urge the stakeholders to collaborate with INEC for a credible polls,” he added. The Deputy Country Director for IFES, Seray Jah, explained that the sensitization forum was to create a suitable way of ensuring a robust and efficient promotion of public knowledge on the electoral process and elections procedures.
He noted that journalists and media executives are key drivers in the forthcoming November governorship election, saying that they should remain mindful of the negative consequences of fake news and avoid it.
The chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Adeiza Momoh-Jimoh, said members will always be guided by professionalism, and that unbiased reportage will continue to remain the watchword of members, before, during and after the governorship election.