Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said that it has commenced a process of repositioning and repackaging ahead of the challenges for the future.
Speaking at the a four-day workshop on media monitoring for some INEC publicity officers in Abuja, INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, said the commission was harnessing the lessons from the 2019 general election and harvesting positive recommendations aimed at improving subsequent elections.
He assured Nigerians that the commission would continue to improve on its processes and procedures.
Okoye assured the various stakeholders in the electoral process that the commission would study and analyse all the recommendations made and positively implement them.
Okoye disclosed that the workshop was aimed at increasing understanding of INEC public officers of new issues, challenges and possibilities in the media.
He added that it was also aimed at how to harness such possibilities and arrest negative perception relating to the work of the commission and build a positive image for the INEC and its work.
Okoye said part of the challenges faced by the commission during the 2019 general election revolved around information mana-gement and strategic communication as well as managing public perception around the processes and procedures of the commission.
He said that while the commission had consistently tried its best to provide information to the media, it demanded that the spokespersons for the commission be conversant with the happening in the commission.
He commended the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) for the Media Monitoring Centre it donated to the commission.
He assured INEC partners that the commission and its staff would make good use of the facilities at the media centre to promote its work and enhance its image.
Okoye said that the training would equip and empower the participants with modern skills of monitoring the activities of the media, to keep the commission abreast of issues as they break or begin to trend especially on the social media.
He said that the establishment of a media monitoring centre within the commission was a step in the right direction.
Okoye urged the participants to the workshop to read widely and keep abreast of happenings in the social media.
“The commission must study and understand the thinking of young people who constitute over 50 per cent of the registered voting population in Nigeria and what keeps them away from the polling units.
“Young persons are very active on the social media and yet have not succeeded in influencing in a significant way the pattern of voting in Nigeria.
“It is a matter of common knowledge that large proportion of the young people are exceedingly active on the social media and take active part in debates around elections and the electoral process.
“It is our responsibility to understudy and understand the direction and perspectives of young people in relation to the electoral process and why they are very active in the social media and inactive in the voting process.”
Also, Coordination Advisor/Electoral Administration Expert, ECES, Manji Wilson, said the media monitoring centre was established for INEC following the recommendations of the European Union Observation Mission to Nigeria, 2015 and 2019.
Wilson said that ECES had procured, delivered and was currently installing hardware and software that would in a few days metamorphose into the National Media Monitoring Centre at the INEC headquarters, Annex.”
On his part, INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said that the participants were drawn from Abuja and INEC office in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
Osaze-Uzzi said the workshop was relevant even after the 2019 general elections, as the commission was preparing for Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
He said that the training would cover both conventional and social media monitoring.