The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged the public to shun fake news ahead of the governorship election in Kogi State.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter’s Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, made the appeal on Wednesday at the commission’s office in Lokoja, the state capital.
He also urged journalists to work within the rules of the profession to ensure the successful conduct of the November 16 poll.
According to Okoye, hate speech and fake news are becoming very divisive forces in the society.
He, therefore, appealed to journalists to do all necessary checks in order not to incite violence during the election.
The national commissioner asked the media to sustain its indispensable status in the task of nation-building and never be allowed to be used as a platform for promoting hate speeches.
He disclosed that about 16,139 electoral officials would be recruited by the commission and listed the political parties that would participate in the election.
The INEC official told political parties who felt INEC should have advised them on how to fill some of the forms that the commission was a regulatory agency and not an advisory body.
He spoke during a workshop on legal and procedural issues, aimed at creating awareness on the use of basic concepts and terminologies in the electoral process.
On his part, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, asked journalists to be objective in their reportage during the election.
The Kogi Residence Electoral Commissioner (REC), Professor James Apam, also sought the cooperation of the media for the election.
He described journalists as gatekeepers of the exercise, adding that they should be able to report without bias.