The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday commenced a two-day training on strategic communications for its management and senior members of staff , as part of measures towards achieving successful 2019 general elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that participants at the workshop include the Chairman of the commission, National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), some Directors and senior officers in the commission.
INEC Chairman, Prof Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, speaking at workshop in Lagos, said that effective communications was strategic to the success of 2019 general elections.
Yakubu said through effective communications INEC officials could gain the trust of the electorate in the electoral process, while addressing issues of mischief.
“You cannot do the business of election without constantly communicating. Equally important to us is first, who communicates on behalf of the commission.
“As we approach 2019 general elections, as a commission, we believe that we are the first source of information and we must be able to communicate more effectively and better.
“That is why we want to hear from media professionals on how we can communicate more effectively without the risk of being misunderstood or misrepresented.’’
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Lagos, Mr Sam Olumekun, said it was important for INEC to develop the capacity of its officers who serve as a bridge between it and the public.
“We all appreciate the importance of training to our personnel because they are the most important resource in any organisation.
“The importance of communication as an effective tool in any organisation cannot be over emphasised.’’
Olumekun said it was important for INEC to develop effective communication strategy to project its image as the commission prepared for 2019 general elections
Also speaking, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the commission was always very conscious of its reputation.
Oyekanmi said that as part of measures to protect its image and reputation, the commission has a Code of Conduct in place for all staff members.
“`This retreat is intended to, among other things; take us through the techniques of engaging productively with the media to achieve our common goals.
“It also seeks to acquaint us with the importance of public relations and how we can apply the tools to achieve specific objectives.’’
The Project Director, European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), Mr David Notre, said it was important for all media organisations to possess adequate information on the processes and procedures of the commission.
This according to Notre, is important in order to provide fair and effective media coverage for pre-electoral, electoral and post-electoral activities and outcomes.
“The media whether print or electronic has the capacity of ensuring a peaceful and credible elections as conflict sensitive information that can trigger election violence must be well managed.
“The language must be properly crafted while being disseminated in order not to incite the masses, especially young people, in this age where information is available on your palm.’’ (NAN)