In preparation for the gubernatorial election coming up in Ekiti state slated to June 18 and the next year general elction .the coalition of Ekiti state civil society organizations (COESCSOs) and the Nigeria union of journalist NUJ on Thursday held a roundtable interaction to achieve peaceful election.
The program organized by the COESCSOs came up at the NUJ secretariat,old governor’s office in Ado-Ekiti , the state capital.
The interaction bothers about how the new electoral amendment law could be utilized by the electorates and the stakeholders for credible election .
Stakeholders at the engagement posited that the new law is a push on democracy in Nigeria.
On the roles of journalists and election process said to be part of the critical aspect of electioneering, the NUJ chairman in the state, Comrade Rotimi Ojomoyela said journalism has rules and regulation guiding the profession by which every journalist must abide for development process, he however decried certain setbacks affecting the roles.
He said: ” journalists have ethics that specified how to go about the roles. Section 22 of the 1999 constitution specified the role of journalists holding government accountable on how they manage the affairs , journalists have been performing their roles, unfortunately there have been hindrances.
” people found culpable over corruption in the land were recently released diminishing the battle fought by journalists”
He added that the recent announcement of nomination forms as announced by political party signified that “political office is no longer for everybody, its for oligarch as demonstrated by one of the major parties’
He lamented that considering the role of equity on the part of journalist
“how can the state media go on this when opposition party will reel out manifestoes that will collide with that of the ruling party”
The NUJ chairman who gave the assurance that journalists would not relent in upholding the etiquette of the profession in the interest of the nation urged civil society organizations/Non governmental organizations NGOs to work in line with journalism profession in keeping the gate devoid of bias for credibility and transparency in electioneering.
The chairperson international federation of women lawyers(FIDA)in the state mrs oyinade Olatunbosun who stressed that the interest of women lawyers lies on women and children said the focus signified that:
“ any election is very important to us ,there are new innovations in the new electoral law ,we want to have election worthy of celebration in Ekiti”.
The FIDA chairperson urged media to focus on featuring leadership quality of female politicians rather than other sides.
President of the lions’ club, Ekiti state University EKSU Dr. Micheal Sunday Afolayan in his paper presentation at the event titled- Why the Electoral act 2022 is important No1-5 stated the government activity is guided by law to which those in authority must comply, he added that the way politicians divulged energy on election process should also be reciprocated in governance.
“ if we pay much attention that wil pay on electoral process to governance, the country will be better. For instance, criminal law brought from Australia in 1904 has not been amended.
“as civil society organizations, we are involved in a volatile situation which is election, whoever is involved in electoral process must be conversant with law and abide by it .
“ New electoral process is in place . it is very important for everyone to take time and go through the new electoral law for proper guide.
“the duty of INEC on voters’ registration is a continuous process , with the new electoral law which the ascension into law by president Muhammadu Buhari took a very long battle, INEC now has a wide latitude as the law supports the use of technology .
“the issue of person living with disability is a very key area in electoral process, these people have been neglected over time in Nigeria. The new law makes provision for them”.
Another presenter, Barrister Stanley Okonkwo with the topic-Why the electoral act 2022 is important No 6-10 stated that the new act encourages early primaries for political parties and to submit the names of their candidates 180 days before election.
Earlier the chairman of COECSOs Professor Christopher Oluwadare said the event was “a mark of giant stride to ensure peaceful, free and fair election in Ekiti.