CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

2023 Polls: Journalists told to calm tension in the land


Worried by political tension in the land few days to the presidential and National Assembly elections, a Non Governmental Organisation, Corporate Accountability & Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has called on media practitioners in the country to help calm the tension through reportage.

In his opening remarks to declare open a training programme for Journalists on the 2023 general elections, CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi noted that the tension associated with the forthcoming elections has never been witnessed, especially during the Second Republic.

Oluwafemi said CAPPA is partnering European Union Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria for the 2023 elections.

He however, tasked journalists to focus thier reports on rural settings in order to draw the attention of relevant authorities for development.

“There is extremely high tension in the land over election. I witnessed Shagari/ Awolowo election. There is never a time the country has been at edge like this time.

“We in a time that is extremely very difficult to make comments about elections because it could be interpreted or misread otherwise.

“So we are here at this training programme on how to use our reportage to promote peace during the election.

“The happening in the last two weeks is not healthy for us. People are queuing at banks to access money, but very difficult.

“There is fuel scarcity and the available ones are sold at high prices after many hours on the queue

“We need to calm down the tension because the job at hands need national peace.

“Five days to election we are still trying to see how we can find cash. In villages people cannot assess cash.

“The tension is too high so we need to do our work to calm down the tension at this critical period of our national life.

“In conjunction with European Union, we are working on how to promote peace during the election.We are doing this in six States. We started late due to some circumstances. People should not see election as arm struggle. Election is like a football, a winner must emerge.

“Also, as journalists we should be able to promote rural development and draw the attention of leaders in that direction.

“We need a leader who can serve the interests of the people across the country not necessarily your ethnic or regional person”.

Speaking on, “The role of the Media as Society’s Watchdog” CAPPA Director of programmes, Philip Jakpor said, “promoting peaceful and non-violent elections as a journalist requires an understanding of our interests, politics and the electoral process itself. It requires a sense of nationalism and
a sense of fairness and equity”.

Jakpor however noted that journalists are in most cases in dilemma because, “Government wants Journalists to report only progress; politicians expect journalists to polish their image and paint their opponents in bad light.

“So Journalists are like the beautiful brides, all suitors are trying to woo. But Journalist must be critical and refuse being wooed”.

He added that, “The voices of ordinary people should be heard because they bear the brunt of the impact of government decisions and suffer most from deprivation arising from public expenditure priorities etc. They make up the largest sector of population. Do not stay on the fence if the issue will affect the stability of the State”.

Source: Sun News Online

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