By Dayo Johnson
Akure—GOVERNOR Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State Monday said the compilation of a credible voters’ register was the first step towards ensuring credible polls in next year’s election.
Dr Mimiko stated this in Akure at the opening ceremony of this year press week organised by Ondo State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ.
He said all hands must be on deck to ensure that the voters’ register was carried out without manipulation, saying a faulty voters’ register could not produce a credible election.
The governor charged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to put necessary machinery in place to ensure that the voters’ register was a true reflection of the electorate.
He advised journalists to dedicate themselves to service of the people to ensure that free and fair elections is conducted peacefully.
While charging journalists across the country not to allow themselves to be bought by selfish a politician who wants power at all cost, Mimiko tasked men of the pen profession to see themselves as the watchdog of the society,
According to him “Journalists must work with the stakeholders of the country to give Nigerians credible elections in 2011. As journalists, you must dedicate yourself to the service of people and always stand for truth while discharging your duty.
“To sustain democracy and have good governance, stakeholders must obey the rule of law and due process, we must build conscious and well-organized civil society to hold public office holders accountable to the electorate, political parties must also take their responsibilities seriously.
Dr Mimiko said that “2011 elections will be a test case for President Jonathan who has promised us free and fair elections. Freedom of choice is a crucial cardinal of democracy, if there is no free and fair election, then democracy is dead, the logic of such poll actually transcends the basic demand for human rights since it confers legitimate authority on elected leaders which is extremely vital to good governance.”
Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Ondo state chapter Dele Atunbi charged federal government to ensure that proactive steps is taken in tackling the rate of unemployment of youths in the country.
Atunbi said for the best interest of the nation, the issue of one man one vote should be emphasized to the electorates in order to give room for credible representatives.
According to him “The NUJ is of the opinion that a credible election is anchored on one man one vote devoid of any manipulation.
This is in the best interest of the nation”
Atunbi lamented the delay in the passing of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill by the National Assembly, saying the development was not good for the journalism profession, stressing that “The delay in the passing of Freedom of Information Billis a pointer to the fact that Nigeria and indeed Nigerians still have a long way to go”
“In the words of Thomas Jeferson, a one time American President, information is the currency of democracy. Why are those who should be aiding the information dissemination hoarding it? It is on this note that the NUJ demands the quick passage of the Bill.”
He therefore commended the State Government on the renovation of the State Press Centre and other developmental projects that have taken place in the state by the present administration.