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Nigeria’s Most criticized election umpire seeks collaborations to mend INEC’s image



Prof Mahmood Yakubu, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it intends to deepening collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) combating fake news in the electoral process.

Famous for laying set of protocol for 2023 general election in Nigeria at Chatham House last year only to do the exact opposite on election day, Prof Yakubu said it is seeking ways of strengthening capacity in INEC on image management.

The agreement was reached when a delegation led by the President and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Dr. Ike Neliaku, paid a courtesy visit to the INEC Headquarters Tuesday in Abuja

Both parties deliberated on various strategies to strengthen the capabilities of INEC personnel through specialized training programmes and workshops facilitated by the NIPR.

INEC Chairman in his remarks during the meeting, decried the prevalence of fake news, misinformation, and disinformation especially on social media, pointing out that greater transparency has not provided antidote to fake news .

“How do we work together to combat fake news, misinformation, and disinformation?

“I used to think that the best antidote to fake news is greater openness and transparency.

“I still believe so, but it takes more than openness and transparency to counter fake news, and I am happy that the professionals are here today.

We will partner with you to ensure that we do not only communicate succinctly but also communicate in the right way and that the message is received and action taken appropriately,” he said.

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On capacity building for staff, the INEC Chairman said, “We have spokespersons at the Headquarters of the Commission and we also have people who speak for the Commission in 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. So, we have more spokespersons nationwide than in any other Organisation.

“We will continue to partner with the NIPR in building the capacity of all the staff and I’m happy that you have outlined some of the activities that you are going to hold this year in addition to other regular activities. We will continue to sponsor our staff to your capacity building programmes.”

Dr. Neliaku, who was accompanied by NIPR delegation explained that the purpose of the visit was to explore potential areas of collaboration between NIPR and INEC.

He highlighted some strategic areas the new leadership of the Institute focused on, which could be of mutual benefit to both Organisations.

The NIPR President requested INEC to take advantage of what NIPR has to offer in terms of synergy, strengthening the corporate identity and reputation management of the Commission.

He said “the Institute is blessed with the best brains in terms of training and capacity building, adding, “We have our structures across the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and we have human and material resources to do that.”

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