2023: IPC, CSOs calls on CBN, NNPCL to avert vote buying

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• INEC assures to scrutinise media accreditation to tackle fake journalists

By Joy Odor

The Executive Director, International Press Centre (IPC), Lanre Arogundade has discribed an unintended consequences of Central Bank of Bank (CBN) new naira redesign policy, and the intractable fuel scarcity among others as some of the concerns of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the media.

Arogundade made this known in Abuja on Wednesday at the Media/CSOs Roundtable on the 2023 Election with the Theme: “Avoiding Landmines, Overcoming Obstacles and Conducting Credible Election” in a bid to proffer solutions to a free, fair and inclusive polls.

The IPC ED informed that despite the well meaning intentions behind the CBN policy, it may lead to a situation where electorates may sell their votes to get naira at any cost which would derail the election process if nothing is done urgently.

“We felt that we should come together to make this carious call, to save our democracy, to ensure that we have credible election, so that all the efforts that we have put together over the years, particularly in the framework that can give us credible election which is electoral Act 2022 as amended.

“Coming from the media, l could also say that we have our own concerns. If we have insecurity, it would affect the media, to that extent, the media would not be able to play it’s role of providing credible information that could enable citizens to make inform choices.

“If we have violent as we often witness in the cause of political campaigns, it also affect the ability of the media to inform citizens of what the candidates is promising or what they would like to do, so in the view point of insecurity or threat to security, we are deeply concerned.

“There is one issue that we cannot run away from, which is to prevent certain politicians or members of ruling parties to have access to new money to buy electorates vote in the election. We need to speak out and at the end of the day, is not having an electoral framework that is favourable, is not just about the media doing it’s work but is about that enabling environment that allows INEC to conduct credible election” he stressed.

Arogundade call for the safety first for journalists and observers covering the election.

In his address, the Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Mr Samson Itodo, raised issues on new naira scarcity that will impact on the 2023 election and sought explanations on CBN assurances from INEC.

Itodo asked INEC to give Nigerians a timely, accurate and widely circulated information on the polling units delineation and re-allocation of voters to prevent confusion on election day.

Commenting, the Chairman of Abino Foundation, Mr Jake Epelle on behalf of the PWDs community bemoaned on the CBN policy for not looking into the impact of the less privilege in the society.

He condemned any policy that does not have human face to it as non inclusive and urged the apex bank to do the needful.

Epelle commended INEC for including the PWDs in the election process whil advising the election umpire to use the PWDs specific tools on election day to prevent the disenfranchisement of members of the community.

He appealed to all journalists to be disability inclusion vanguards that amplify issues around the plight of Persons with Disabilities.

Re-acting to all the issues raised on INEC, the Director of Voter Education, Mr. Francis Aluko informed Nigerians that INEC will begin daily media briefing on its activities from Saturday February 18, 2023 on information sharing during for election.

He also disclosed that the Commission has identify some fake journalists using unknown media platforms to applying for media accreditation to cover election, vowing the INEC would scrutinise all the media applications before pick up from Friday this week.

He assured Nigerians that the commission is ready to conduct a free, fair, credible and inclusive elections on February 25th and March 11th, 2023 to the satisfaction of Nigerians.

“INEC has dedicated numbers which will be used to send SMS to all new voters and those who polling units have been reallocate to a different location. To inform Nigerians on their polling units, Nigerians can also visit the following links: voters.inecnigeria.org and cvr.inecnigeria.org.

“All our state offices have been mobilized to inform electorates nationwide of their polling units.

“A dedicated polling unit officer will be assigned on election day to check PVCs of voters and direct them accordingly” Aluko said.

 

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