…as Collection Resumes December 12 in Akwa Ibom
By Ekemini Simon
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced January 22, 2023 as the deadline for the collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVCs).
INEC in Akwa Ibom State has also assured persons who transferred their registration to the State, applied for change of polling units, and those who applied for renewal of defaced PVCs, that their cards will be ready for collection at the respective INEC offices in their local government areas from Monday, December 12, 2022.
The information was contained in a Communique issued at the end of a-one day capacity building workshop organised by Independent National Electoral Commission and the Nigeria Union of Journalists for select journalists in Akwa Ibom State on conflict-sensitive reporting and the 2023 general election held in Uyo on Tuesday, December 6, 2022.
The Communique which was signed by Abasifreke Effiong as Chairman with two others including the Vice President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Zone F, Comrade Okpaka Dokubo noted that the forum lauded INEC for the introduction of technology such as the Bi-modal Voters Authentication System (BIVAS), INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV), and online biodata registration of adhoc personnel recruited for the election.
The forum called on the Commission to ensure strict audit of activities of her personnel who will be involved in the electoral processes to nip in the bud all forms of electoral malpractices.
The Communique said that INEC was charged to ensure full inclusion of the media in all stages of the electoral processes to ensure that they have full information and understanding of election activities to be able to properly inform and educate the voters.
The Communique noted that INEC was urged to ensure close collaboration with security agencies to ensure protection of journalists, stakeholders and actors who will be working on election matters as well as voters particularly in riverine areas which may be vulnerable to attacks.
The communique added ” The forum noted a series of misinterpretation of provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 by media houses and guests appearing on media programmes, and advised that media houses should always seek clarifications about any provision in the Act whenever in doubt so as not to mislead the public.
“Note was taken about the non-adherence to electoral guidelines and timelines by political parties, and the forum called for strict adherence to ensure a seamless electoral process.
” Electoral stakeholders and actors were encouraged to avoid inciting statements capable of causing a breach of public peace, order and harmony during the 2023 elections, and appealed for support to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
The communique pointed out that Journalists were encouraged to take active part in the electoral processes, endeavour to fact-check every information bordering on the election before dissemination to the public.
The communique noted that the gathering commended NUJ led by the National President, Chief Chris Isiguzo, MFR, and the collaboration with INEC in organising the capacity building workshop.
Earlier, the President of NUJ, Comrade Chris Isiguzo in his welcome address noted that for the masses of Nigeria to actively participate in the democratic process, the media itself must be strengthened to ensure that some of the mechanisms through which community empowerment can be achieved are put in place. He explained that the mechanism includes the unhindered access to information, and proactive initiatives like the training partnership with INEC which is aimed at strengthening the way and manner Journalists perform their work during election times.
He added “We all know that the feature of democracy lies in periodic and credible elections, during which mandates are either renewed or new leaders emerge. Election is therefore a necessity in promoting the democratic process. The role of the Journalist therefore, within the system, especially against the background of professional responsibility cannot be over emphasized.”