By Izunna Okafor, Awka
It is unconventional to say that accredited journalists in Anambra State are yet to receive election coverage kits for the 2023 election, while the election is just few hours to kick off.
It is no longer news that the Presidential and National Assembly Assembly election will hold tomorrow, Saturday, February 25, to be followed by Governorship and States House of Assembly election slated for March. It is also not news that journalists have long completed the online accreditation process, in line with the guidelines and directives of the Independent National Electoral Commission, which entitles them to tags and other kits, for proper identification during the election coverage.
Howbeit, it is worrisome that while accredited journalists in other states have received the deliveries of their kits, their Anambra counterparts are yet to receive theirs.
It is also worthy to note that many of these journalists who hail from Anambra State will be traveling to their respective villages today ahead of tomorrows election, as many of them have their polling units in the village, and will also need to exercise their franchise, as well as carry out their journalistic duties of election coverage in the area as were assigned by their respective media houses. And, it is apparently not advisable to travel late this period, while the enforcement of movement restriction will begin at midnight.
The most worrisome of the entire situation is that both the Resident Electoral Commission in the state, Dr. Elizabeth Agwu, and the Public Relations Officer of the Commission in the state, Barr. Kingsley Agwu have not been responding to phone calls and text messages from the journalists, who have been trying to reach out to them to ascertain what actually delays the delivery of their kits.
Meanwhile, in his brief statement on the situation, made available to this reporter, Izunna Okafor, early this morning, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Anambra State Council, Comrade Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, PhD, said an INEC official in the state told him that journalists’ kits are yet to arrive the state.
“Gentlemen, until 5:53 am this morning Friday February 24th, ln my last communication with the Anambra INEC PRO, election coverage kits for journalists in Anambra state haven’t arrived. We are on alert for that .
“Once we get signal, the Vice- Chairman of NUJ Anambra Council, Comrade Ngozi Obileri shall stand in for the Council to distribute them, unless INEC has some other arrangements,” Odogwu said.