From AMEDU JOSEPH, Lokoja
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has disclosed that the centre would deploy over 300 poll observers to monitor the November 16, Governorship Election across the 21 Local Government Areas of the state.
The Senior Programme Officer of the centre , Austin Aigbe gave the hint in Lokoja during a seminar on Fake News organised by the centre in collaboration with Kogi Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) for practising journalists in the state.
Aigbe said there was need for close monitoring of the election, especially, from registration and voting to collation, to check manipulations if credible, free, fair, acceptable and conclusive poll must be achieved.
He said it was time the nation rose to the challenge of conducting credible and acceptable elections adding that the Centre, with support from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and USAID remained committed to the cause.
Aigbe noted that journalists had a huge role to play in ensuring success of the gubernatorial election by publishing fact-checked, verified information and balanced reports devoid of fake news and half truths.
The Program Officer urged newsmen to guard against fake news arising from disinformation and misinformation as well as planned propaganda with intent to distort and misrepresent facts to the advantage of a candidate or particular political party.
Aigbe who described fake news as the small portion of a bigger propaganda said it had the potential to destroy Kogi State and the nation at large if not avoided.
He observed that the state had no challenges of religious intolerance but that of ethnicity which he said, was rife and was potent enough to destroy the state through purveyance of fake news and hate speech.
“Kogi is not moved by religion but by ethnicity. Ethnicity move people in Kogi than religion. We have a responsibility to stop it as it could trigger violence across the state and we have a responsibility as journalists to right the wrongs.
“Always fact-check your information before sharing or publication. We want to be able to rely on you for collaboration. Of you can’t verify a news item don’t use it. Beware of screaming headlines be careful with your headlines”, he advised.