Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to the loss of jobs has made it difficult for the Commission and Nigerians to focus on election.
National Commissioner, Information and Voter education, INEC, Festus Okoye, spoke at a virtual workshop on the Commission’s Communication Policy, yesterday in Abuja.
He said: “It is difficult communicating internally and externally when individuals and groups are facing existential challenges occasioned by a pandemic. It is difficult getting individuals, groups and organizations to focus on the conduct and management of elections in a period of fear, anxiety or worse.
“It is difficult getting individuals and groups to focus on elections when the dominant issues in global lexicon relates to a virus and protocols relating to managing it.
“It is difficult getting people to focus on elections and electoral matters when there is looming danger that they may be out of job or already out of work or are in Internally Displaced Persons Camps. It is difficult getting people to focus on elections in a period of uncertainty.”
Okoye, however, maintained that regardless of the challenges, the Commission would continue to explore ways to pass across information to Nigerians which is why the INEC Communication Policy was launched.
He explained that, “the INEC Communication Policy is a composite document designed to address both internal and external communication processes and procedures of the Commission and for the Commission. It is designed to eliminate ‘ad-hocism’ in the entire gamut of the Commission’s communication system.
“I therefore implore all of you to familiarize yourselves with the clear intendment and intentions of the document and see it as a tool not only of understanding our communication policies but also of seeing the challenges.
He added that,”We at the Commission will continue to deepen our knowledge of global trends in election management and communication.
“We will continue to enhance our knowledge of electoral issues and processes and we
urge the media, civil society groups and indeed all relevant stakeholders to join the Commission in deepening the use of technology in the electoral process.
“We urge critical stakeholders to join the Commission in instituting a regime of transparency in election and result management and transparency.”