The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has said the commission accredited 1,799 Nigerian journalists from over 150 domestic media organisations to cover the last general elections.
Mr Yakubu spoke on Thursday in Abuja at a meeting with the media to review the last general elections.
He said the elections were the ”most extensively covered event in Nigeria in 2019.”
INEC conducted the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 23, while the governorship and state assembly elections were held on March 9.
Supplementary elections in five states were also held in March.
”The commission accredited 1,799 journalists from more than 150 domestic media organisations to cover the 2019 General ELections.
”We had 332 journalists from 52 foreign media organisations from different parts of Africa, Middle East, Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Asia to cover the elections,” Mr Mahmood said.
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) in its report released in June said government-owned media outfits favoured the interests of the ruling government at federal and state levels.
The mission added that journalists posted on duty to cover the elections were subjected to violence and harassment.
Speaking at the event, the commission’s national commissioner, Festus Okoye, urged the media to be constructive in identifying the issues that are more important.
”The commission is not a court of law and does not have administrative powers, we would continue to comply with the superior jurisdiction of the court through the determination of issues in the electoral process
”We implore the media and media managers and practitioners to continue to study and analyse issues relating to the constitutional and legal framework in the electoral process, elections, and electoral process are complex and complicated and issues and procedures are not necessary subjects to the ordinary rules in the law
”The commission welcomes questions, suggestions and recommendations on how to improve these strategic communications at the invitation processes during elections, coverage of elections and the issue of assessment management.
”We are not here to trade blames, we urge to (Media) to be constructive in identifying the issues that are more important to offer rational workable and implementable suggestions of recommendations on how we can improve on the electoral processes.
In his remarks, the President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, said the media remains the oxygen in the electoral process.
“We did our job as journalists the way it was,” he said.