2019: Editors caution politicians against intimidating electorates

Osinbajo at Editors conference1

Ahead of the 2019 General Elections, Nigerian Editors have called on politicians and security agencies not to intimidate electorates, but allow them to freely make their choices for democracy to thrive in Nigeria.

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State (L) welcoming Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the 14th All Nigeria Editors' Conference in Asaba, Delta State

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State (L) welcoming Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the 14th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference in Asaba, Delta State

This is part of the nine-point communique issued at the end of a five-day 14th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference hosted by the Delta State Government in Asaba from Oct. 10 to Oct. 14.

The communique signed by Funke Egbemode and Victoria Ibanga, President and Secretary-General of the Guild respectively, also advised politicians to do away with the culture of winning at all cost and by all means in the forth-coming elections so as to avert electoral violence.

The editors commended the 91 registered political parties for the maturity displayed during the party primaries of most of them in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.

They, however, frowned at the allegations of vote buying which the editors observed was a subtle but worrisome way of institutionalising corruption.

The conference participants decried the level of insecurity in the country stressing that the nation deserves more than rhetoric and political slogans on issues of citizens’ welfare.

“Editors commended the government and good people of Delta State for the rapid growth in infrastructure across the state as well as human capacity development.

“The conference observed that elections in Nigeria are not built on truth and therefore urged the umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to remain independent in its practice by allowing citizens’ votes to count; as such is cardinal to sustaining democracy.

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“Editors expressed the need for Nigerian journalists to intensify efforts that will deepen democracy through sustained investigative, balance and analytical reportage.

“The conference challenged media practitioners to join in the mobilisation of Nigerians through unbiased reports to take collective responsibility in choosing leaders for the nation in the next general elections.

“The Guild observed that the role of traditional media is being threatened with the emergence of social media where balanced reporting, truth and accuracy are gradually and consistently being relegated,” the communique read in part.

Editors, at the end of deliberations, agreed to defend the truth through professional practice, urging the publishers and chief executives of media establishments to play down on the commoditisation of information to enhance objectivity.

The Guild expressed its appreciation for the presence of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at this year’s conference and thanked the host, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the support given to the Guild for a successful conference.

The Renaissance reports that more than 400 editors across the country attended the conference with the theme “Credible Elections, Sustainable Democracy and the Nigerian media”.

The high profile gathering was declared opened by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Main Event Centre, Asaba.

From Oluwashina Iyanda in Asaba, Delta State

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