The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s election management body has repositioned its operations for greater efficiency with the launch of a revised communication policy. The policy according to the Commission’s Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, will address INEC’s internal and external communication processes and procedures and further embrace the use of technology in driving its
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s election management body has repositioned its operations for greater efficiency with the launch of a revised communication policy.
The policy according to the Commission’s Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, will address INEC’s internal and external communication processes and procedures and further embrace the use of technology in driving its business.
Professor Yakubu disclosed these at the INEC communication policy operationalization virtual workshop on Friday, with optimism that the policy will assist the Commission earn and sustain public trust, be visible,, accessible and accountable to the public.
“I believe that this communication policy will assist us to reposition the Commission as we navigate through a very uncertain period that the end can’t be predicted”
Yakubu said the commission was fully aware that the old ways of doing things must gradually give way to the new by deepening the use of technology in the electoral process.
Represented by the Commission’s National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, the Chairman said the policy is designed to eliminate “ad-hocism” in the operations of the Commission.
He urged stakeholders in the electoral process to join the commission in deepening the use of technology and instituting a regime of transparency in electoral process.
“This is the basis of the introduction of the INEC party nomination portal, the election observer accreditation portal and the media accreditation portal.
“Transparency in the result transmission process led to the development and deployment of the INEC Result Viewing Portal wherein the commission uploads Forms EC8A for public viewing.
“We at the commission will continue to deepen our knowledge of global trends in election management and communication.
“We will continue to enhance our knowledge of electoral issues and processes and we urge the media, civil society groups and indeed all relevant stakeholders to join the commission in deepening the use of technology in the electoral process.
“We urge critical stakeholders to join the commission in instituting a regime of transparency in election and result management and transparency. This desire to achieve these noble goals is at the heart of the development of this Communication Policy,” Yakubu said.
He described the INEC Communication Policy as a composite document designed to address both internal and external communication processes and procedures of the commission and for the commission.
He noted that it was designed to eliminate “ad-hocism” in the entire gamut of the Commission’s communication system, Yakubu implored all the participants to familiarise themselves with the clear intendment and intentions of the document.
He also told them to see it as a tool not only of understanding INEC communication policies but also of seeing the challenges.
He said that it was difficult communicating internally and externally when individuals and groups were facing existential challenges occasioned by a pandemic.
“It is difficult getting individuals, groups and organisations to focus on the conduct and management of elections in a period of fear, anxiety or worse.
“It is difficult getting individuals and groups to focus on elections when the dominant issues in global lexicon relates to a virus and protocols relating to managing it.
“It is difficult getting people to focus on elections and electoral matters when there is looming danger that they may be out of job or already out of work or are in Internally Displaced Persons Camps. It is difficult getting people to focus on elections in a period of uncertainty.”
Prof Yakubu added that communicating what people may see as non-essential service in a period of a pandemic or uncertainty requires a new form of capacity and skill, which required new thinking and new methodologies and strategy.
” Consequently, information/ communication experts and managers must design ways and means of getting the people to focus on messages that are related to the electoral process.
“It is also important to disseminate such messages and information using means that the people can relate to in a new setting of physical distancing, lock down and daily rise in infection level.
“Information managers must therefore communicate in such a way that people will see and appreciate election as an essential service.”
The commission chairman added that Communication Policy was designed to enable INEC communicate effectively.
Yakubu sought the cooperation of all the critical stakeholders in INEC external communication drive, pledging that the commission, more than before needs the understanding, cooperation and reach of the media to get its messages across to the Nigerian people.
Presenting the overview of revised INEC Communication Policy, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, said that the 55- page document covered different areas that would enhance effective communications of the commission.
Adding that the document emphasised that as much as possible, “only professionals or personnel that have received appropriate training should be put in charge of handling media relations and voter education programmes” of the commission at all levels.