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Allow votes to count in 2019, Editors charge INEC

…decry level of insecurity

By Emma Amaize, Festus Ahon & Ochuko Akuopha

ASABA—The Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE,  has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to allow votes to count in 2019, noting that vote-buying is a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.

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INEC boss

In a communiqué issued at the end of the 14th All Nigeria Editors Conference in Asaba, by both the President and General Secretary, of the NGE, Funke Egbemode and Victoria Ibanga, the NGE decried the level of insecurity in the country, saying the nation deserved more than rhetorics and political slogans on issues of citizens’ welfare.

The communique reads: “The conference commends the 91 political parties in the country for the maturity displayed during the party primaries but frowns on the allegations of vote buying which the editors observed was a subtle but worrisome way of institutionalising corruption. We commend the government and good people of Delta State for the rapid growth in infrastructure across the state as well as human capacity development.

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

“Editors expressed the need for Nigerian journalists to intensify efforts that will deepen democracy through sustained investigative, balanced 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 election.

“The Guild observed that the role of traditional media is being threatened with the emergence of the social media where balanced reporting, truth, and accuracy are gradually and consistently being relegated. Editors at the end of deliberations agreed to defend the truth through professional practice.

“Editors urged the publishers and chief executives of media establishments to play down on the commoditisation of information to enhance objectivity.

“Editors called on politicians and security agencies not to intimidate the electorate but allow them to freely make their choices for democracy to thrive in Nigeria.’’

The Guild expressed appreciation to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo  for attending the forum. It also commended Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa for contributing to the success of the conference.

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