International Press Centre tasks stakeholders on building trust in electoral process

The International Press Centre (IPC) has called on all stakeholders in the electoral process in Nigeria to see the task of building trust in the electoral process as a collective responsibility which is expected to shape a better future for elections.

Penpushing reports that the Executive Director of the centre, Lanre Arogundade gave the charge on Monday in his welcome speech at a one-day multi-stakeholders dialogue on rebuilding trust in the electoral processes, institutions and elections, held in Lagos

The dialogue was objective of Component 4 (Support to media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria-Phase 2 (EUSDGN II) project, the implementation of which International Press Centre (IPC) leads.

Penpushing further reports that Arogundade pointed out that it cannot be denied that some contentious issues arising from the 2023 elections have created mistrust among Nigerians, just as he equally asked media and civil society organisations, if they have done enough to hold important stakeholders like the government, political parties, candidates, security and law enforcement agencies accountable for their actions at elections in addition to the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC)

‘It’s in the public domain that the elections met with some unexpected challenges which ordinarily shouldn’t overshadow its significant milestones including the meticulous preparation and the use of technology for voting via BVAS which remain highly commendable’, he stated.

‘As in journalism, bad news spreads faster than good news. Some of those challenges have elicited local and international observations including the one led by the European Union, Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM), which highlighted elements of waning public confidence and trust in the electoral process’, Arogundade said.

Penpushing also reports that he explained that the International Press Centre(IPC) media monitored activity of 20 print/online media and  electoral commission social media platforms over the past 18 months which revealed elements of negative perception by some citizens about the electoral processes and outcomes.

‘Though it has been argued that some of the negatives appeared to have been exaggerated. This forum serves as a strategic response to the foregoing. It is underscored by the recognition that without rebuilding trust, it might be difficult to get the electoral process right in the next round of off-cycle governorship elections (Edo, Ondo and Anambra States), and in the larger 2027 general elections.

Penpushing reports that Arogundade quoting Frank Sonnenberg said, trust is like blood pressure, and that it’s silent, vital to good health, stressing that if abused, it can be deadly, explaining that the theme of this forum has, been purposively framed to reflect International Press Centre (IPC’s) concern that enough searchlight is often not beamed on the conduct of some other key players in the electoral process whenever elections are being previewed or reviewed.

‘Thus, among the questions that should agitate us as media and civil society organisations, as we engage in this deliberation today are: Have we done enough to hold important stakeholders like the government, the political parties, the candidates, the security and law enforcement agencies, etc, accountable for their actions at elections in addition to INEC?’.

‘If we agree that we haven’t, then what can we do better? Have we as media and civil society organisations also done enough to make ourselves accountable to society in the course of performing our electoral duties?’

‘The media should be fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive in the coverage and reportage of electoral processes and elections.  Are we as journalists doing enough to live up to the basics of social responsibility by being factually accurate, conflict-sensitive and setting citizens’ agenda in reporting the elections?’, Arogundade emphasized

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