By Princewill Ekwujuru

Ahead of the 2019 gen-eral elections, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON, and the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria, ACSPN, have concluded plans to organise a workshop on the need for a rancour-free election campaign.

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Professor Lai Osho who led the team of the communications professionals on a visit to APCON House, Lagos, said ACSPN is committed to advancing the scholarly study and practice of ‘communications’ by providing and facilitating the pursuit of excellence in academic research and professional practice in Nigeria.

The former Dean of the School of Communications, Lagos State University, noted that the issues that will define the future of media and communication practice in Nigeria is the need to enthrone fairness and objectivity, and these are what will define the direction of the 2019  general elections.

He therefore called on APCON to join hands with ASCPN in the noble enterprise of charting a way forward for communication professionals and media practitioners to communicate effectively without fanning the embers of hatred through hate speeches, especially as Nigeria gets into the 2019 campaign.

Reiterating ACSPN’s core values which include professionalism, innovation and partnership, Osho said by providing capacity-building, training and maintaining best international practice, the workshop and training will empower their members with skills as well as provide access to other professional bodies.

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He said he was inspired by APCON’s banner displayed at the entrance of APCON which reminds politicians to avoid “hate speech” in their campaigns, stressing further that in as much as we want to protect the freedom of expression and of the press, we must also endeavour to guard against hate speech and spurious statements that could heat up the polity.

In her response, Mrs Ijedi Iyoha, the Acting Registrar assured of APCON’s willingness to partner with professional bodies like ASCPN to support noble causes even though the agency is yet to have a council. The APCON registrar said the workshop will aim at inculcating critical knowledge about the management of electioneering campaign, communications and deployment of such communications that would promote peace among the contending parties.

She noted that the tendency of political candidates and their supporters to abuse their freedom of speech and engage in spurious promotional campaigns that exploit consumers and the public, and sometimes undermine societal harmony and well-being, has made it most expedient to organise the workshop as a follow up to the recently held Stakeholders’ Forum on Political Advertising and Communication  organised by APCON in Abuja, adding that professional bodies are crucial stakeholders in the Nigerian state.

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Iyoha said APCON is open and ready to collaborate with professional bodies in the communications sector that will advance the course of the agency.

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