warns against announcement of election results
By Emem Idio
AHEAD of the November 16 governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has tasked the media on ethics, impartiality and objectivity in their reportage of the electoral process.
The INEC National Commissioner in-charge of Bayelsa, Edo, and Rivers states, Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, stated this in Yenagoa, yesterday, during a workshop on “Legal and Procedural Issues,” on the Bayelsa State Governorship Election organised by the commission for journalists in the state.
While pointing out that the media is essential to democracy and a democratic election is impossible without the media, she however, warned against the announcement of election results by the media because these actions are legally reserved for returning officers. She noted that the announcement of results by the media before an official announcement and declaration by an Electoral Officer is at variance with the provision of Section 69 of the Electoral Act, 2010.
He words: “The media are therefore encouraged not to function as a mouthpiece for any particular political party or candidate. This is provided for under section 100 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) which provides among others ‘that State apparatus including the media shall not be employed to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election and that media time shall be allocated equally among the political parties or candidates at similar hours of the day.
“It is therefore essential for the media to be informed on the procedure for voting, announcement of
results, election petitions and other essential activities of INEC. It is necessary at this point to emphasize to the media that the announcement of results and declaration is legally reserved for the Returning Officers. Any announcement of results by the media before an official announcement and declaration by an Electoral Officer is at variance with the provision of section 69 of the Electoral Act, 2010.”
In his remarks, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, stated that the Commission will be recruiting not less than 9,945 officials for the Bayelsa election, adding that six political parties made invalid nominations, and one political party withdrew from the election, while 45 political parties will be on the ballot paper.