1st June, 2018
About 100 journalists from all over the world will converge on Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory between June 21 and 23 to attend this year’s International Press Institute’s (IPI) World Congress, according to the organisation’s National Committee Chairman in Nigeria, Mr Kabiru Yusuf.
Yusuf, who led a delegation of the organisation’s executive committee in Nigeria to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) headquarters on June 1, said the Nigerian chapter invited the IPI to hold its annual congress in the country for the first time because “it is good time, our democracy is maturing, thanks in part to INEC.” He added: “We want them (IPI members) to come and see (Nigeria) for themselves, rather that assume from a distance.”
The IPI scribe, who is also the Publisher of the Daily Trust newspaper titles, revealed that issues of election coverage among others will be discussed at the meeting because “this is still a challenging activity for us and much of the third world.” He observed while the Nigerian media performs its role well some of the time, “it sometimes performs poorly.” Which is why, he explained, a session will be dedicated to sensitise the media on what needs to be done, identify the challenges and how to tackle them.
He averred that the IPI “has been around for some 60 years” and “it moves from country to country every year to hold its annual congress, where delegates focus on the issues of press freedom and challenges of the media in societies. He implored the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu to honour the institute’s invitation to speak on electoral matters.
A member of the delegation and former Managing Director of Champion newspapers, Mr Emma Agu commended INEC for conducting credible elections over time. He said: “If there is any agency that is strategic to the survival of this country at this point in time, it is INEC.”
Responding, Prof Yakubu assured the delegation that he would attend the event. He also noted: “It will be a very good opportunity for us (INEC) to speak on our preparations for the 2019 general elections.”
Commission members present at the meeting include four National Commissioners – Prof Okechukwu Ibeanu, Dr Mustafa Lecky, Air Vice Marshal (Rtd) Ahmad Mua’zu and Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola.
Others were the Chief Technical Adviser to the Chairman, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, Special Adviser to the Chair, Prof Mohammad Kuna, Chief Press Secretary, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi and the Director, International Cooperation and Protocol, Engineer Okop Umobong.
The IPI members include: Alhaji Mohammed Idris (Chairman, Blueprint Newspapers), Mr Raheem Adedoyin, (Secretary, IPI-Nigeria), Mr Waheed Odusile (President, Nigerian Union of Journalists) and Dr Olalere Akinreti (Chairman, Lagos NUJ).