By Lateef Ibrahim
In continuation of the efforts to finalize the review of Communication Policy, ahead 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has convened a meeting of experts and technocrats to retouch the document.
A statement by the Director, Voter and Publicity, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi said that the document is intended to serve the internal and external communications needs of the Commission for improved electoral services.
Declaring open the meeting of the Technical Committee on the Policy in Lagos on Tuesday, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Prince Solomon Adedeji Shoyebi said the meeting was convened to review the existing policy, not to draft a new one.
According to Shoyebi, “What we are here to do is to review and produce a Policy which will be presented as a final document to the Commission. This is a 3rd level review. We did not need a new draft because we believe in continuity,’’ he explained.
Soyebi described the composition of the Committee as one of the sources of its strengths and congratulated the old members who participated in producing the initial policy for being part of the review.
He also welcomed new members who he said their resourcefulness was needed to add value to the existing document.
Earlier, in a welcome address, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Lagos State, Sam Olumekun, thanked members for choosing Lagos to serve as the venue for the meeting and emphasized the need for the review.
‘’The need for sound communication policy especially in a heterogeneous society as ours cannot be over-emphasized’’, he said.
Commissioner Olumekun observed that ‘’the laws and regulations governing the electoral process are dynamic and change from time to time and it is against this back drop that the round table was timely and most welcome as there are bound to be changes in the Communication Policy of the Commission.
‘’An important component of our overall communication policy is the vertical Communication between Headquarters and State/Local Government Area offices. This requires a thorough review’’, he added.
In his goodwill message, the Project Director, European Centre for Electoral Support in Nigeria (ECES), the sponsors of the meeting, David Le Norte, said ‘’ECES was proud to be associated with the main objective of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) programme which seeks the reinforcement of democracy in Nigeria through enhancing effective and legitimate democratic Institutions achieved by cumulative actions within the five components of the programme.
‘’ECES is supporting the Indepent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in organizing the meeting’’, Mr Le Norte said; and expressed optimisms that the new policy would incorporate all issues that would cover the dynamics of the Commission’s internal and external communication.
The meeting is being attended by veterans and bureaucrats of professional callings including; Dr Akin Akingbulu, Dr Tom Adaba, Obadiah Tohomtet, Kayode Idowu, Lanre Arogundade, Ibiba Don Pedro and Ahmed Balarabe Sa’id.
Others are: Prof Mohammed Kuna, Prof Bolade Eyinla, Barr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, Rotimi Oyekanmi, Andy Ezeani, Osaretin Imahierobo, Victor Aluko, Aliyu Bello, Mohammed Musa and Rifkatu Duku.
Also present at the meeting was National Commissioner Mohammed Harura who was also part of the team that produced the initial Policy.