Ahead of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria, the International Press Centre (IPC) Thursday concluded a two-day workshop on capacity building for 25 political reporters from media organisations in the south-western states of the country.
The workshop held in collaboration with the project of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.
The participants were drawn from print, broadcast and online media such as PREMIUM TIMES, Radio Nigeria, Radio One, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), The Nation newspaper, The Cable newspaper and others.
The founder of Journalism Clinic, Taiwo Obe; This Day editor, Bolaji Adebiyi, and a political affairs analyst, Jide Ojo, were the facilitators.
Addressing the participants on Wednesday, IPC chairman, Lanre Arogundade, said the training was for the reporters to be the heartbeat of political journalism and by extension, election reporting.
“He or she must have his/her skills constantly honed so it could disseminate information that adds value to the conduct of credible elections,” he said.
“In the context of modern day journalism, the political reporter cannot afford not to be able to use data to disseminate sensible electoral information.”
“He/she cannot afford not to factor the human and social element into election reporting. Crucially too, he/she cannot afford not to be conflict sensitive or ignore the ethical and professional imperatives that underline good journalism.”
Speaking on integrating socio-economic and human index development data into political reporting, Mr. Ojo said campaign promises ahead of 2019 should be based on issues and not frivolities as in past elections.
“Socio-economic issues such as health, education, poverty, unemployment, transportation, water and sanitation, industrialisation, power (electricity), state of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, subsidy payment, agriculture, solid minerals, creative arts (music, films, and entertainment value chain), ICT, Tourism, Sports,” he said.
“As part of the agenda setting responsibilities of the media, it is imperative for you as political correspondents to ask the right questions from those who are contesting the next elections.”
Mr. Obe, who spoke on covering the political space using digital tools and apps on Thursday, pin-pointed the essence of social media platforms and internet technological tools in the economic and professional models of the media industry.
He noted that instead of complaining about poor welfare in Nigeria and censorship, journalists can harness the technological opportunities to solve the problem of non-payment of salaries and have a robust media capacity building.
The reporters were shared into groups for them to highlight and proffer solutions to the problems affecting transparency as related to the electoral commission, the media and the political parties.
Participants later expressed optimism about the coverage of the 2019 general election.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, Taiwo Ojedele from Radio Nigeria said his reporting of the 2019 elections will benefit from the knowledge he gained at the workshop.
“The knowledge I have gained in the two-day training has helped to broaden my horizons and I am also encouraged by the experiences shared by the participants and the facilitators.
“As a result of this training, I’ve decided on my own to cover subsequent elections even if I won’t be funded. I’ll fund myself if need be,” he said.
“The training was interactive, educative and an eye opener. It is a good thing that this is coming ahead of the general election,” The Nation newspaper correspondent, Olowe Praise, added.