Election coverage is one thing that is in the mind of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and in less than 16 days, how prepared they are will show to Nigerians. 

While preparation is still on, the INEC knows that it needs journalists to be able to give  Nigerians a free, fair and credible election.  

On Friday, the electoral body stressed the need for the Police and other security agencies to ensure that they do not stand in the way of accredited journalists deployed to cover the general elections.

INEC's Federal Commissioner in charge of Anambra, Mr Festus Okoye, Enugu and Benue states made the call at a Sensitisation Forum for the Media in Awka on Friday.

He said journalists were critical stakeholders in the process and must be granted unfettered access to voting, coalition and distribution centres.

According to him, accredited journalists must also be allowed to inspect all election materials.

The federal commissioner said media managers must be guided by election rules and relevant materials including the 1999 Constitution as amended, Electoral Act 2010 as amended and INEC Regulations and Guidelines to effectively perform the roles.

He also believes that the public  relies on the media for the right information during elections.

"This emphasises the need for them to be in tune with the basic rules guiding the process.

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“It is axiomatic that you cannot give what you do not have. Therefore, to report effectively, media managers must have good knowledge of the dynamics and nuances of the electoral process.

“A media manager that is blank in terms of information or does not read but relies on old order to informing the public is a danger to the electoral process.

“It is a matter of common knowledge that a large majority of the Nigerian people rely on the media for information on the electoral process, so it is fundamental and in the national interest for the media to be on top or be reliable,’’ the News Agency of Nigeria quoted him as saying. 

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