The world is turning its focus on Nigeria towards a successful election in 2015 with preparations from different organisations, in ensuring free, fair, credible and crisis-free elections.
As part of these preparations, Public Affairs Officers from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) across the country and media practitioners from different media houses gathered in Abuja for a week-long Media and Elections BRIDGE training workshop.
The training was organised by the UNDP under the Democratic Governance for Development Programme (DGD). The main objectives of the training included exploring electoral principles, structures and processes as they affect media regulations campaign and election coverage as well as media-based public outreach, with a view to developing and improving on mechanisms for communication and interaction between INEC and media organisations.
Participants went through intensive and interactive sessions in various aspects as they relate to media professionals and election practitioners, complementing BRIDGE facilitators in the process.
Veteran broadcaster and a Doyen in the broadcast industry, Dr. Tom Adaba spoke on the Overview of Media Freedom in Nigeria – Media Guiding Principles. In his paper, Adaba highlighted the guiding principles underlying the role of the media in elections. He also spoke on different dimensions to media freedom, which is relevant in elections.
Other presenters includeed the National Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Shuaibu Leman Usman, who spoke on Traditional Media Vs Social Media: Collaboration or Competition, a resource person from INEC, Mr Andy Ezeani, who presented a paper on The Legal and Institutional Framework vis-a-vis the Role of the Media in an Election Process while Diego Okeyonde took participants through The Exploration of Social Media Tools and how they impact on Media Election Coverage.
Thereafter, the content delivered by the various speakers was integrated into the BRIDGE module, offering a unique opportunity for media and election practitioners to understand their roles and how they impact on each other. BRIDGE is committed to providing accurate relevant and timely information to the public with the overall aim of having a successful 2015 elections and beyond.
BRIDGE BRIDGES GAP BETWEEN INEC AND MEDIA IN NIGERIA
When we received the invitation to attend the BRIDGE workshop on Media and Elections, we were thrilled because we had heard so much about BRIDGE from friends who were privileged to attend previous BRIDGE programmes.
The venue chosen for the workshop was a class of its own and located in a serene environment, away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city Abuja. It provided a perfect environment for the thorough and ‘knowledge-loaded’ modules of the workshop.
The facilitators, Kelechi, Chika Patsuji and Tomsie Dlamini brilliantly displayed their expertise, professionalism and understanding of the modules. They remained committed to imparting knowledge throughout the workshop and were wonderful in the delivery of the course materials. We thank them for all for a wonderful job well done.
We love the doses of icebreakers and energisers as well as fun-filled practical application of all that we learned and shared with our colleagues. We laughed and expressed ourselves freely and it did make us feel we were back to kindergarten.
We can say with certainly that at the end of the workshop, our knowledge on Media and Elections greatly improved. We are better equipped to put in our best in 2015 elections in Nigeria – for the development of Nigeria and Africa at large. We left the venue of the training with the enthusiasm to put into practice, all we were taught.
EDITORIAL TEAM (PARTICIPANTS)
Muhammad Musa Sokoto