From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Consul-General of the United States Consulate, Lagos, Nigeria, Mr. Will Stevens, on Monday said the United States of America has earmarked more than US$50million for technical support for Nigeria towards the success of the 2023 general elections in the country.
He made the disclosure at the opening ceremony of a three-day intensive Election Reporting Workshop for South West, especially for journalists selected from Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti States.
The workshop, organised by the West Africa Broadcast and Media Academy (WABMA), with the support of United States Consulate General and Enugu Literary Society, ongoing at the American Space, Jericho, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Sevens explained that the US$50million would cater for training of journalists, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and technical assistance among others to ensure transparent and credible elections in Nigeria next year.
He stated that the United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has been working closely with partners through, to enlighten people on their civic responsibilities, the need for them to participate in the elections, and to ensure that every vote counts. The US, according to him, would continue to emphasise the importance and value of voting as well as protecting a free press.
“The United States Government has allocated over US$50million for technical assistance and support, trainings, for civil society organisations to support elections, transparency, elections processes, technical assistance, working on the IT systems among others.
“We’re committed to initiatives here in Nigeria to build needed capacity. We funded training for hundreds of journalists on topics ranging from fact checking, health reporting, defense and national security reporting, investigative journalism, election reporting and media ethics.”
The Team Lead, Election Reporting Project (ERP), Ken Ike-Okere, stated that the workshop was organised to build the capacity of 150 Nigerian political journalists, photojournalists, videographers, and political editors, who will cover the 2023 election cycle, and set up and manage an election coverage reporting website dedicated to political journalism content produced by all participants. He added that similar training would be held in Lagos, Enugu and Port Harcourt in Rivers State as well.
The Dean, School of Communication and Chair, Department of Radio, Television and Film, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, United States, Prof Chris Ulasi; former Dean, School of Communication, University of Lagos, Prof Lai Oso; and an investigative journalist with the Associated Press (AP), Mrs. Grace Ekpu, are among the resource persons at the workshop.
The participants were drawn majorly from both print and electronic media organisations, including The Sun Newspapers.