Prof. Emeka Ezeonu, former Imo, Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says the 2023 general elections cannot be rigged.
He spoke on Wednesday at the installation of new patrons and revalidation of old patrons of the Anambra Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, in Awka.
Mr Ezeonu appealed to the public to ensure they get their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, ready to perform their civic responsibility in 2023.
He said that the Electoral law as amended 2022, made it impossible for any form of rigging to take place in Nigerian elections any longer.
“BVAS approval has tightened the loopholes in the card reader, making the electorate more confident that their votes would count,” he said.
Mr Ezeonu, chairman of the installation and Christmas party of the council, urged journalists to always be very professional in their reportage.
Prof Stella Okunna, a professor of Mass Communication, with a specialty in Behaviour change Communication and Development communication, charged journalists to be ethically balanced.
Mrs Okunna, a Deputy Vice Chancellor, Paul’s University, Awka, and the NUJ Anambra Council Matriarch, urged journalists to give in their best to build a better society.
She said that Journalists are agenda setters and should live up to their responsibility by fishing and dishing out quality and unflawed reports to their audiences.
Chief Chris Eluemunoh, a veteran journalist and community leader, encouraged journalists not to relent in giving the public quality reports as sound reporting grows a nation.
Mr Eluemunoh recalled that in their time of practice, the environment for reporting was intense but defied all odds to feed the public richly with credible news.
He said as a grand patron of the council, it is his duty to advise journalists to report correctly, accurately and wisely, especially during the general elections.
Eluemunoh said that their reports must be seen to be fair to all and without bias.
Felix Awogu, Executive Head, Studios and Events, Multichoice Nigeria, was installed as one of the new patrons of the council.
Earlier in his speech, Dr Emeka Odogwu, Chairman of Anambra Council, said that Journalists need to be well catered for in the country because of the hazards associated with their jobs.
Mr Odogwu appealed to the relevant authorities to upgrade the status of the journalists in the country by adequate recognition and handsome payments.
Henry Nwasike, former Chairman of Anambra Council, urged journalists to tackle quacks in the system to ensure respect for the profession as non-professionals give a negative image of the job.
The planning committee chairman of the event, Joy Mbachi, said that the role of journalists in nation-building cannot be waived off and called for a quality pay package for journalists.
Mrs Mbachi urged journalists to hold on to the tenets of their jobs and proudly serve the public through quality reportage.