U.S. Reiterates Call For Credible, Violence-Free Elections

By Kevwe Ebireri, Abuja

With just over a month to the general elections in Nigeria, the United States on Monday reiterated the need to ensure that the 2015 polls are conducted in a transparent, free, fair and inclusive manner.

Speaking in Kaduna at the opening ceremony of a workshop organised for journalists from Northern Nigeria, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, said the elections present a golden opportunity for Nigeria to demonstrate its lasting commitment to democratic values and institutions.

Entwistle said in order for this to happen, Nigeria’s political leadership and all those who aspire to lead, must refrain from making inflammatory comments and supporting acts of intimidation.

“We continue to call upon all Nigerians to refrain from advocating, fomenting, or condoning violence, before, during or after the elections.

We urge political parties and the government to ensure that all registered voters are able to participate freely in a peaceful and transparent process,” he said.

The Ambassador also reminded media practitioners of the critical role they play in shaping the outcome of the elections through their reports and urged them to deliver on this task with a great sense of responsibility.




     

     

    “In any country, covering an election is a great professional challenge for reporters. Journalists in democracies have the vital task of reporting on the issues that voters want politicians to address and helping to hold elected officials accountable for their campaign promise,” said Entwistle.

    Speaking in the same vein, the President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Mohammed Garba, expressed the body’s commitment to improving the ethical standard of news reportage during elections by ensuring that journalists practice their profession within the ambit of the electoral laws and other regulations.

    “Professionally, we desire to improve the news judgment of the journalist as it affects elections and election related issues,” Garba said.

    The NUJ President also noted that the 2013 ranking of Africa as the third deadliest region in the world for journalists was worrisome and urged media owners to adopt insurance policies  for all their reporters, aside from the provision of conducive working environments and payment of salaries, as well as other emoluments.

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