Key Civil Society Organisations, in Nigeria have drawn attention of the National Assembly to the fact that any electoral reform or law that assign lose and feeble monitoring responsibility to the media would amount to deliberate denial or unequal participation of all segments of the society in the electoral process.
At a media engagement partly sponsored by European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria, EU-SDGN, the organisations argued that the electoral law must empower the media to properly monitor elections and ensure inclusive participation during elections.
In a statement signed by the International Press Centre, the Institute for Media and Society, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, CLEEN Foundation among others, said that the ongoing Electoral Reform Bill should take cognisance of the fact the media should not be encumbered.here in the coverage and reportage of political parties and candidates especially as self regulatory frameworks including the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage require that the media should give them equitable access while also promoting the inclusive issues of women, youths and people living with disabilities.
They added that electoral reform remains the only way an inclusive electoral system can be achieved, which is why they are calling for enabling legal instruments wherein inclusive participation of all Nigerians to participation in the electoral process without being disenfranchised, without fear of attack by hoodlums and political hooligans, without fear of insecurity, without denials based on gender or disability and without any restrictions in the ease to emerge as a candidate and without any inhibitions to vote and the votes to count during the election is guaranteed.
They demanded that the reforms should endeavour to protect special persons, regulate cost of nomination of candidates to promote political inclusion as well as promote inclusion of women youth and persons with disabilities.
Among others of the group include strengthening financial and operational independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, use of technology during elections, stiffer penalties for electoral offenses, eliminate musical proceedings that make mockery of the system among others.