By Nathaniel Gana
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed its willingness to cooperate with advertising professionals in the country to mitigate hate speeches in electoral campaigns and promote sound political advertising as the countdown to the 2019 general elections continues.
Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu gave the indication on 5th June, when he received the newly elected Executives of the Advertising Practitioners Association, Abuja Chapter (APAAC) at the Commission’s Headquarters.
Prof. Yakubu, who was represented by National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Prince Adedeji Solomon Soyebi, welcomed the support of the Association towards improving the electoral process.
He noted that working with professional bodies such as APAAC would bring about sanity in the practice, especially with regard to electoral advertising.
The INEC Chairman said the Commission was willing to work with every organization that could add value to the 2019 general elections, just as he urged APAAC to work closely with the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in order to sanitize political advertising.
Earlier, the Chairman of APAAC, Mr. Ibrahim Aliyu commended the current leadership of the Commission for its focus and determination to ensure free, fair and credible elections regardless of daunting challenges.
He said: “Despite the huge challenges, INEC has been performing creditably well. Political contests in Nigeria have always been characterized historically by violence, misgivings, fake news and propaganda, but in spite of these, INEC has remained on the path of providing Nigerians with credible elections.”
He said that APAAC, as a patriotic organization, was prepared to assist INEC in sensitizing political parties on ethical advertising and how campaigns should be run, in order to avert a repeat of what happened in 2015 when hate speech and foul languages were prevalent.
A member of the delegation and Zonal Head, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Alh. Adamu Yelwa, pledged the Council’s commitment to cooperate with INEC to promote sound political advertising in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.