Delta State government has offered to host this year’s All Nigeria Editors’ Conference, the flagship annual conference organized by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), because its belief that the Nigerian media is a critical stakeholder in the nation’s effort to advance the cause of democracy.
The state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, said Delta State government under Governor Ifeanyi Okowa being a model for and promoter of democratic ideals was impressed with the theme of the conference which is: Credible Elections, Sustainable Democracy and the Nigerian Media.
“The Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, being an apostle of credible election as an enabler for sustainable democracy was particularly excited at the theme because it reflects vividly his firm belief that the sustainability of any democracy is dependent on the credibility of the electoral process.
“Recall that between last December and now, Okowa has chaired two national conventions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the first being the convention which produced Prince Uche Secondus, the current Chairman of the party and last weekend’s convention which produced former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, as the presidential flag-bearer of the party. Both processes were largely acknowledged as free, fair and credible”, he said.
According to the commissioner, the event will provide editors a rare opportunity to see, first-hand, the development strides of the governor across all sectors in all the senatorial districts of the state.
The conference will hold from Wednesday, October 10 to 14th in Asaba.
The Chairman, Planning Committee of the conference, Mr. Ken Ugbechie, said the theme was chosen to reflect the prevailing political reality in the country. The keynote would be delivered by the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu.
The President of the Guild, Mrs Funke Egbemode, explained the choice of the theme, stressing that it was informed by an urgent and compelling responsibility of the Guild to plot a roadmap to 2019 as a watchdog with a duty to provide unbiased, fair and objective coverage of the elections especially in the face of a monetized electoral system.
“We believe that the media also has a role to play in ensuring sustainability of the country’s democracy in view of the key role it plays in information dissemination and moulding of public opinion. It is, therefore, imperative that the media is properly positioned not only to understand the issues involved in organising a credible election, but to advance a true democratic culture in the manner it reports issues of politics and governance”, the statement said.
Other speakers include governors, senior media executives, security experts, representative of Google, media specialists in digital journalism, etcetera.
The All Nigerian Editors Conference is the largest gathering of Nigerian Editors (apart from the Biennial Convention), and it was initiated in 2004 at Ada, in Osun State. Since then, it has been held
in different parts of the country. It brings together not less than 400 editors and other media professionals from all over the country and beyond to focus on a designated national issue that affects the future and wellbeing of the country.