The conduct of Ekiti and Osun governorship elections raised hope of free and fair elections in Nigeria come 2015, but the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) doubts its possibility.
According to the association, the high level insecurity, insurgency and kidnappings in the country would not guarantee free, fair and credible elections in 2015.
Rising from its 10th All Nigerian Editors Conference (ANEC) in Katsina, Katsina State, at the weekend, the NGE in a communique issued at the end of the 4-day conference, said the current state of insecurity must be addressed to strengthen the nation’s democracy and instill good governance.
The communique, signed by NGE President, Femi Adesina, and General Secretary, Isaac Ighure, read: “That the Editors have a great role to play in promoting national discourse towards strengthening national unity, peace, harmony as well as political, social, economic growth and prosperity.
“That the Nigerian Editor should continue to promote the nation’s fledgling democracy and help in enthroning good governance in our country.
“That the Editor should continue to promote free and fair elections, which are key to the promotion and sustenance of democratic culture in the society through vigorous dissemination of information to the citizens.
“That the high level of insecurity, insurgency and kidnappings across the country which create atmosphere of fear and apprehension, cannot guarantee free, fair and credible elections in 2015.
“That to strengthen the nation’s democracy and instill good governance, the current state of insecurity must be addressed with a view to creating conducive environment for development.
“That the Independent National Electoral Commission should be adequately funded, to enable the commission conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2015 and beyond.
“That to ensure sustenance of good governance, the media must set a generally acceptable performance index to gauge the performance of governments at all levels, in the provision of basic amenities and infrastructure to the citizens.
“The Guild urged members of the profession to adhere to the code of journalism ethics in the discharge of their responsibilities, while advocating for a code of conduct for the media in covering the 2015 general elections.
“The NGE calls on politicians to shun hate speech, unguarded utterances, name calling, and other anti-social behaviors while using the media to canvass for public support.
“The Guild commends the government and people of Katsina State for their warmth and hospitality, and for their contributions to the overall successful hosting of the conference.”
The conference, with the theme, Credible Elections and Good Governance: Role of the Editor, which held between Wednesday 27 and Saturday, 30, August 2014, had in attendance over 250 editors from both print and electronic media.