The Independent National Electoral Commission would begin the issuance of permanent voters cards next year in preparations for the 2015 general elections, the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega said on Friday.
According to him, permanent voters cards would be for those who were registered since 2011.
Jega who was represented by a National Commissioner in INEC, Dr Nuru Yakubu, said this during a workshop organised for the commission’s press corps and information personnel with the theme: “Information Management and the role of the media in the electoral process”.
The INEC boss also declared that conducting credible elections in the country could not be the responsibility of the commission alone but “a multi-stakeholder endeavour that requires the collaboration and diligent commitment of other role players.”
He said, “We have introduced the Smart-Card Technology to improve the accreditation of voters through rigorous voter identification and authentication process on election day. The commission has so far taken delivery of a greater portion of these smart permanent voters card that we will begin issuing to registered voters from next year (2014).”
In his paper entitled: “Media and Democracy – A practitioner’s perspective”, a former Editor of THE PUNCH and Deputy President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, said the group had “volunteered to work with INEC to ensure that the 2015 general elections remained free and fair.”
He further stated that this was part of NGE’s social responsibility towards ensuring that the nation’s democracy remained deepened.
Ayorinde also commended the contribution of NGE and the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria towards defending the nation’s democracy with a call on Journalists to adopt self-censorship in the practice of their profession in order to avoid publishing falsehood.
He identified several challenges confronting the media to include poor and irregular payment of salaries which renders journalists susceptible to unethical practices and erodes the integrity of the profession.
Others are heavy investments by politicians; media awards that honour politicians and seek lifelines; and businessmen publishers with political ambition which results in editorial interference.