The International Press Centre (IPC) and the Centre for Media and Society (CEMESO), will this week host concurrent events aimed at critically examining contemporary challenges in the electoral processes and enhancing trust in elections within the context of consolidating Nigeria’s democracy.

Scheduled to take place between June 25th and 27th in Calabar and Abuja respectively, the two events are integral parts of Component 4: Support to Media of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance (EUSDGNII) project, which the two civil society organisations are implementing.

The main goal of the engagement with key stakeholders is to engender in-depth discussions to reinforce commitments and develop strategies that promote collaboration among multiple stakeholders to improve on the electoral processes.

IPC’s initiative, the “Multistakeholder Dialogue on Rebuilding Trust in Electoral Processes, Institutions, and Elections,” taking place in Calabar, Cross River State on Tuesday June 25 will be the fourth in the series coming after previous editions in Abuja (for the North Central), Lagos (for the South west), and Kaduna (for the North west). The forum is meant to generate commitment from electoral stakeholders to play the desired role in enhancing confidence in electoral institutions, electoral processes and the election management body ahead of the 2027 elections.

To this end, Prof. Takim Ojua Asu of the University of Calabar, will deliver a keynote address on “The Role of Critical Stakeholders in Rebuilding Trust in Electoral Institutions and Processes in Nigeria” at the event to be chaired by Dr. Itam Abang, a former female member of the Cross River House of Assembly.

The discussants shall include Prof. Bolade Eyinla, Chief Technical Adviser to the INEC Chairman, the state leaderships of IPAC, NLC, TUC, NBA, etc.; the representatives of the State Commissioner of Police, the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and EUSDGNII partners, Media personnel, Women, Youths, and Community Leaders.

CEMESO’s two-day event in Abuja on June 26 and 27 will focus on “Dealing with Contemporary Salient Issues in the Electoral Process” to delve into contentious issues arising from the recent elections and enumerating the tactics and strategies of addressing them.

In this regard, the event will feature expert presentation by Professor Samuel G. Egwu on contemporary electoral issues while Mr. Nicholas Bise Dazang shall moderate the sessions to ensure productive interaction.

The forum will have in attendance about 40 journalists from various broadcast media outlets and representatives from the inclusion community who shall explore strategies for enhancing civic and voter education through responsible media coverage.

In a statement, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, the Executive Director of IPC said: “The thrust of our message is that all the key stakeholders in the electoral processes and elections must take their roles seriously, openly commit to improving on the performance of the roles and be ready to be held accountable for the commitments by the media in particular and the civil society in general”. “We are emphasising trust because without it there cannot be mass and informed participation, which in turn would serve as catalysts of credible and acceptable elections”, he added.

Dr. Akin Akingbulu, the Executive Director of CEMESO also said: “Without meticulously identifying and examining the salient issues in the electoral processes particularly in the aftermath of the last general elections, it might be difficult to decide on the best approaches for tackling the contentious ones, so we consider the planned engagement as an important step towards developing appropriate civic and voter education messages to improve future elections”.

The endeavours by IPC and CEMESO as supported by the European Union, underscore a collective commitment to advancing democratic governance and fostering transparent electoral practices in Nigeria.

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