By Habibu Harisu
Sokoto – A’isha Abdullahi, Gender Desk Officer, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Sokoto State has urged media to consider women and people living with disabilities (PWDs) on political programmes and commentaries.
Abdullahi made the call on Friday in her presentation at a Seminar on Election Reportage for working journalists in Sokoto State ahead of 2019 general elections.
She explained that males and persons without disability have almost dominated active politics as well as political awareness programmes stressing that women and PWDs have contribution to make in the society.
She said PWDs have about 23 million population in Nigeria besides women population and few were being considered to express their views and increased their participation.
According to her, if People with Disabilities (PWDs) are considered and involved in policy making processes, they will have sense of belonging and be useful to the society.
Delivering his lecture on Campaign reportage, Malam Faruku Umar, said media firms should consider allotment of spaces for politicians to voice out their ideas irrespective of political affiliations.
Speaking earlier, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Malam Abubakar Musa, said adequate arrangements have designed to ensure credible, hitch free and free and fair elections at all levels.
Musa underscored the importance on media in facilitating successful elections, noting that journalists can mar or harness election success.
”Media has critical role in ensuring the success and credibility of elections and its actions and inactions have important bearing on electoral process before, during and after elections.
”Any form of misinterpretation, mistake or mischiefs in reporting elections and electoral matters may lead to uncertainty, constitutional crises, de-marketing of INEC,” Musa said.
He appealed to reporters to always verify facts and contact relevant authorities for confirmation and clarifications as poor knowledge may engendered the society.
According to him, at present INEC in Sokoto has received 1,908,313 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), out of which 1,665,993 has been distributed while 243,320 PVCs are still unclaimed.
The Head of Voters Education and Publicity of INEC Sokoto, Malam Musa Muhammad, said the similar was to interact with working media persons on proper understanding and successful coverage of 2019 elections.
Muhammad explained INEC would engaged no fewer than 16,000 workers for conduct of election in Sokoto which would comprised National Youths Served Corp (NYSC) members, students of tertiary institutions and some civil servants.
He said that arrangement was being considered for alternative due ongoing industrial action in Nigerian universities.
According to him, some social media groups would sensitise by INEC on dangers of misrepresentation of election facts adding that some non-sensitive election materials have already arrived.