Ahead of the Edo and Ondo off-cycle elections coming up in September and November this year, respectively, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has rallied media stakeholders to bolster efforts in combating the proliferation of fake news and misinformation.

Speaking at the inaugural quarterly consultative meeting in Abuja on Thursday, Prof. Yakubu reiterated the crucial role of media organizations in ensuring the integrity and credibility of the electoral process.

Against the backdrop of heightened electoral activities, including recent bye-elections and re-run elections across several states, Prof. Yakubu underscored the need for enhanced collaboration between INEC and the media fraternity.

With the Edo State governorship election slated for September 21st, 2024, and the Ondo State governorship election following on November 16th, 2024, Prof. Yakubu provided insights into the preparatory measures underway, including the submission of candidate lists and personal particulars by political parties.

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Recognizing the pervasive threat posed by fake news in the digital age, Prof. Yakubu urged media practitioners to exercise vigilance and accuracy in their reporting, particularly during the critical phases of political party primaries.

He emphasized the significance of party primaries as integral components of the electoral process, calling upon journalists to scrutinize and report on these events with meticulous attention to detail, thereby fostering transparency and accountability.

In combating the spread of misinformation, Prof. Yakubu reaffirmed INEC’s commitment to fostering greater openness and transparency in its operations. He commended the media for their role as watchdogs of democracy and pledged continued collaboration with media stakeholders to uphold the integrity of Nigeria’s electoral system.

The meeting concluded with a renewed commitment from both INEC and media organizations to work hand-in-hand in safeguarding the democratic process from the pernicious influence of fake news, ensuring that the upcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States are conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner.