Chris Steven, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC says the review of the commission’s Communication Policy is key to addressing emerging challenges ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
This was the observation of INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, while declaring open a two-day workshop on the Review of INEC Communication Policy on Monday in Kaduna.
Yakubu explained that while the current policy had served the commission, the review had become imperative to better equip it for the 2019 General Elections.
“Since 2015, significant changes have taken place in the political and electoral processes that should be taken into consideration in planning for the next general elections. I’m talking about changes such as the ongoing review of the electoral legal framework, the ever changing structure and nature of political competition and prospective expansion in the number of political parties.
“The use of social media and its possibilities, activities such as the nationwide all-year round Continuous Voter Registration exercise, and the development of the Strategic Plan/Strategic Plan of Action.
“All these require the review of our communication policy in order to rise to the emerging challenges as we move towards the 2019 General Elections.”
Some of the objectives of the review of the communication policy, according to Yakubu, are to determine what works and what needs to be fine-tuned in the light of the experience gathered in implementing the policy developed in 2015.
He added that the review would also examine the extent to which the policy had enabled the commission to effectively communicate with the public.
“Thirdly, to determine the extent to which the policy has facilitated a more robust internal communication within the commission.
“Finally, appraise the effectiveness of a sustained stakeholder engagement between the commission and all relevant stakeholders,’’ he said.
Yakubu said that the more effectively INEC communicated, the more the public appreciated its works, constraints, challenges and giant strides.
The chairman added that the workshop would also explore ways of enhancing INEC communication policy in order to sustain engagement with stakeholders in the electoral and political processes.
He listed INEC stakeholders to include political parties, civil society organisations, the media, relevant government establishments and international development partners, among others.
Alhaji Abdullahi Kaugama, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Kaduna State, said that the review was necessary to ensure that the objectives of the policy were achieved.
“As it has been observed, four years after the introduction of the Communication Policy, the challenges that it set out to address are still very much with us” he said.
“With a new Strategic Plan (2017-2021) now in place, a review of the Communication Policy has become necessary, hence the convening of this workshop,” Kaugama added.