Ahead of the January 16, 2021 Local Government elections in Kano, the leadership of Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC), has consulted Imams and Malams to pray fervently for a hitch-free exercise.
KANSIEC Chairman, Prof. Garba Ibrahim Sheka, said the Commission has consulted Imams and Malams who have since commenced prayers to ensure that a hitch-free Local Government elections are conducted in Kano.
“We have Malams praying for us to have a hitch-free election,” he added.
Prof. Sheka, also identified fake news emanating from Social Media as a major challenge for the Commission in the forthcoming elections in the state.
Though he recognized the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a challenge, Prof. Sheka emphasised the fact that Social Media fake news can be devastating and negatively impact on the outcome of the elections if left unchecked.
Prof. Sheka who received executive members of Correspondents’ Chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kano state chapter, in his office on Monday, appealed to mainstream journalists in the state to help the Commission overcome the ugly antics of Social Media which is capable of causing conflicts and fracas before, during and after the elections.
He frowned at situations where Social Media Handlers release fake and unverifiable results on the internet, even when elections were not yet over and results yet to be collated.
He recalled how in the last Local Government elections in the state, of which he presided over, some Social Media Handlers, spread, “false and unverifiable information of underage voting in the elections.”
He, however, said KANSIEC was vindicated when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), stepped in and found out that, “the stories and pictures that trended in the Social Media then were not only falsified, but cooked up to tarnish the image of KANSIEC.”
The KANSIEC boss, appealed to the media to exercise restraint and avoid propagation of fake news, while reporting the forthcoming Local Government elections.
Prof. Sheka who said KANSIEC is hundred per cent ready to conduct free and fair elections next year January, also revealed that unlike in the last election when election materials were printed abroad, the Commission has decided to source for local professionals and experts who can do the job.
According to him, if election material are printed within the country, it will not only create employment for Nigerians, but will also boost the economy and ensure quick delivery of both sensitive and non-sensitive materials during the exercise.
He said already, the Commission has commenced sensitization programmes across the five Emirate councils in the state, adding that the electorate and other stakeholders have been very cooperative.
Prof. Sheka, however, appealed to politicians to play by the rules, just as he urged the electorate to vote their conscience and avoid the temptation of being induced with money and other material gains by unscrupulous politicians.
He emphasised that the media have critical roles to play towards ensuring that the election become a success, pointing out that, “to a large extent, we are relying on the media, because it is through the media that the World know what we are doing.”
In his remarks, the Chairman of Kano Correspondents’ Chapel, NUJ, Comrade Ibrahim Garba Shua’ibu, promised KANSIEC that his members will apply the highest standard of professionalism while reporting election matters.
He also appealed to the Commission to make information available to journalists in good time, pointing out that the media are always on ground to ensure that things are done the right way and the people are duly informed on what transpired before, during and after the election, without prejudice.
Comrade Ibrahim Garba also informed the Commission that already, the Correspondents’ Chapel has concluded plans to organize a workshop for its members to refresh their memory on how best to cover the forthcoming Local Government elections in the state.