Ondo 2020: lNEC closes door against deregistered political parties in Edo, Ondo elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has declared that the deregistered political parties would not participate in both Edo and Ondo governorship elections.

Recall that the political parties got an Appeal Court verdict reversing their de-registration by the commission. The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi said this at a webinar organised by the International Press Centre (IPC) for journalists in Ondo states ahead of the election.

The training is tagged, “WEBINAR/VIRTUAL CAPACITY BUILDING SESSION ON ‘PROFESSIONAL, FACTUAL, CONFLICT SENSITIVE AND SAFETY- CONSCIOUS REPORTING’ OF THE ONDO STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION”. Council No fewer than forty journalists participated in the webinar organised in collaboration with the Ondo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Oyekanmi while responding to a question on if the verdict will be implemented said that “The election will go on as scheduled; the judgment can’t change anything. Since none of them (affected parties) conducted primaries before the closing of the window, they cannot take part in the election and that cannot affect INEC’s preparation.

He said that the commission would appeal the judgment noting that there were six judgments on the deregistration of political parties and five of them were in favour of the commission. According to him since the window of conducting primaries by political parties had expired under the election guidelines, no new party will be accommodated.

He added that “the judgment of the Appeal court on the reinstatement of the delisted political parties would not affect preparations for the two governorship elections. The accreditation of journalists for the coverage of the two elections, he pointed out would be done through an online portal which would be opened soon.

On the essence of the result Portal opened by INEC, Oyekanmi noted that it was to engender transparency as the portal will capture polling units election results For facts and updates, Oyekanmi implored Journalists to follow the Commission on its social media platforms’ accounts which are also part of the situation rooms for contents.

A resource person, Mr. Martins Oloja, the Editor-in-Chief of Guardian Newspaper cautioned journalists to be mindful of the sensitive nature of various parts of the state and report election matters professionally. He tasked the state chapter of the  NUJ to organise a capacity building training for members on digital journalism.

The director of IPC, Lanre Arogundade in his opening remarks said the webinar was part of efforts to improve the capacity of Journalists in election coverage, urging participants to embrace germane issues of professional and ethical reportage of electoral processes, including issues of inclusivity, fact-checking, hate speech and conflict-sensitive reporting (online/offline).

Arogundade commended the EU for partnering IPC to ensure the training of journalists for the forthcoming election. The Ondo State Chairman of NUJ, Adetona Aderoboye who spoke through the State Secretary of the Union, Leke Adegbite, commended the IPC and other partners for the regular and timely training of journalists especially as it had become difficult for media organizations to train their staff amidst economic hardship occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.

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