Delta State government said it is hosting this year’s All Nigeria Editors’ Conference, the flagship annual conference organised by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) because it believes that the Nigerian media is a critical stakeholder in the nation’s effort to advance the cause of democracy.
The state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, said Delta State government under the leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, was impressed with the theme of the conference which is: Credible Elections, Sustainable Democracy and the Nigerian Media.
His words: ‘’The Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, being an apostle of credible election as an enabler for sustainable democracy was particularly excited about the theme because it reflects vividly his firm belief that the sustainability of any democracy is dependent on the credibility of the electoral process.
“Recall that between last December and now, Okowa has chaired two national conventions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the first being the convention which produced Prince Uche Secondus, the current Chairman of the party and last weekend’s convention which produced former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, as the presidential candidate of the party. Both processes were largely acknowledged as free, fair and credible.’’
According to the commissioner, the event would provide editors a rare opportunity to see, first-hand, the development strides of the governor across all sectors in all the senatorial districts of the state.
The conference would hold from October 10 – 14th in Asaba.
The Chairman, Planning Committee of the conference, Mr. Ken Ugbechie, said the theme was chosen to reflect the prevailing political reality in the country.
The keynote speech would be delivered by the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu.
The President of the Guild, Mrs Funke Egbemode, said the choice of the theme was informed by an urgent responsibility of the Guild to plan a roadmap to 2019 as a watchdog with a duty to provide an unbiased coverage of the elections.
She said: “We believe that the media also has a role to play in ensuring the sustainability of the country’s democracy in view of the key role it plays in information dissemination and moulding of public opinion. It is, therefore, imperative that the media is properly positioned not only to understand the issues involved in organising a credible election but to advance a true democratic culture in the manner it reports issues of politics and governance”.
Other speakers include governors, senior media executives, security experts, representative of Google, and media specialists in digital journalism among others.
The All Nigerian Editors Conference is the largest gathering of Nigerian Editors (apart from the Biennial Convention).
It was initiated in 2004 at Ada, in Osun State.