ABEOKUTA – The Oyo State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barr. Mutiu Agboke has urged media practitioners to be fair and balance in reportage of the forthcoming general election.

Agboke who spoke at the 2018 World Television Day organised by the Broadcast Chapel of Ogun NUJ in Abeokuta, charged the media to exercise restraint in their reportage of events of the election.

Agboke who was represented by David Asemo maintained that media practitioners played an important role in ensuring peaceful election.

He also noted that reporting election result by journalists without verifying from INEC could cause crises.

He however, seek the partnership of the media so as to educate the electorates on vote buying and selling during election period.

Agboke also claimed the commission would ensure there is no vote buying or selling in the forthcoming election.

He said, “the contribution of the broadcast media towards the smooth conduct of 2019 general election cannot be over-emphasised. Broadcast media have prominent roles to play in order for the commission and the country at large to achieve success in the forthcoming 2019 general election.

“Almost all the citizens get their news and information from the media especially broadcast media. Broadcast media shape how we perceive, interpret and observe political activities, election leverage and other political events.

“Hence, it plays important roles in the campaign and election process. The Broadcast media have a role to play in dissemination of information to the public on issue such as the date of election, number of political parties contesting for an election, flag bearers of political parties and such like are duties of the Broadcast media in informing the public.

“The Broadcast media have much more to do than recording and reporting electoral activities. The media being the watchdog must ensure that government and the INEC inclusive are held accountable. The watchdog role of the broadcast media should include that ability to guide the interest of the electorate.

“In doing this, it can help warn against the destabilising factors and warn the electorates against being used as political thugs and other vices.

“The broadcast media provide an outlet for political parties and candidates to communicate their views and messages to the voting public and also give the people voice to express their thought about the conduct and outcome of an election.”

Meanwhile, the commission has insisted that the 2019 general election would not be postpone, claiming that it would follow the election time-table to the latter.

The commission noted that all preparation for the election has been completed.

“We are following the time-table to the later, and every preparation is on ground to ensure we meet up with the schedule date.

“For the commission to conduct credible, free and fair 2019 general election, it is the collective effort of all stakeholders. The media have greater role to play in order to foster transparency in the dissemination of important electoral information,” he said.

Earlier in his address, the chairman of the chapel, Kazeem Olowe noted that journalists would continue to serve the role of watch dog.

Olowe added that they would ensure that their report is accurate without compromising the truth.

He said, “It should be noted that as journalists, we serve and will continue to serve as the eyes and ears of the people at home to capture events far and near and report accurately, without compromising the truth.

“We have no doubt that the representative of the INEC here is capable of providing answers to some of the questions, agitating our minds as journalists and provide practicable suggestions.”

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