The Democratic Governance for Development Project II of the UNDP and its international partners, EU, DFID and CIDA, as part of their capacity building programmes for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Media organised a 5-day BRIDGE (Building Resources in Democracy Governance and Election) modular workshop on Media and Elections for INEC Public Affairs Officers and local and international journalists from the southern part of Nigeria.The workshop took place at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, from 25th to 29th March, 2013. The choice of Lagos as the venue for the workshop for the Southern zone was highly in order as it represents the vociferous and popular Lagos – Ibadan press axis. As it should always be, the tapestry woven from the wealth of knowledge, and experience of participants who were pumping with energy, enthusiasm putting across their ideas, cutting the veil that covers our minds, eyes elucidated for all to appreciate the important philosophy of BRIDGE, which is hinged on adult learning, activity-based and participatory engagement.
The residential workshop was coordinated by the sponsors in order to further strengthen the harmonious relationship that exist between INEC and the media taking cognisance of the importance media plays in elections, democracy and governance in Nigeria.
Participants at the workshop want to appreciate the organisers of this programme, most especially UNDP and INEC and particularly, the originators of the BRIDGE programme and materials for enriching the not so available literature on democracy, elections and governance. The programme that is structured to bring out the best from participants is compact, loaded, down to earth, with do it yourself exercises that is flexible and adaptive to the local environment. We cannot ask for more than we have gotten as the workshop has exposed us to the need to partner with each other while providing us the necessary tools, procedures and mechanisms to carry out duties in peace time and other situations.
The topics covered included Overview of Media Freedom in Nigeria; Media and Electoral Cycle; Balanced Media Coverage and Good Journalism in Election Reporting, the Role of EMBs in Relation to the Media; Ways to work with the Media; Legal and Institutional Framework for the Media and Integration of Social Media with Traditional Media of Communication on Election Process.
As we march towards 2015 General Elections in Nigeria, we are poised to illuminate the electoral environment with incisive reportage, informative analysis and educative literatures using the instrumentality of BRIDGE tips on Journalistic and Election reporting.
The BRIDGE workshop facilitators included Tomsie Dlamini, who coordinated the workshop, Maryam Mandara and Agoha Ifeanyichukwu of INEC as well as implementing agency Toyin Gabriel and Joshua Gbor of the UNDP.
The other category comprises the Art Editor of the Guardian Newspaper, Mr Kabir Alabi Garba, the Executive Director of the Independent Press Centre (IPC), Lanre Arogundade and Gbenga Sesan, an ICT Expert.
Kudos, BRIDGE and facilitators.
James A. Sowole and Ikechi M. Nzeako for the team.