The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria with technical assistance from the European Centre for Electoral Support organised a 4-day training on Media Monitoring for staff of the Commission, from 29 July till 1 August 2019 at the Barcelona Hotel, Abuja.

The European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) is supporting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the launch of a media monitoring unit for Nigerian TV, radio, social media and online news media, allowing it to collect and interpret data relating to INEC and other search subjects, using a variety of up-to-date tools and connected software. The Media Monitoring unit should be flexible and responsive to changing needs within INEC. This is to provide a comprehensive picture of what the traditional and social media are saying about it – positive, negative and neutral – and allow it to formulate appropriate courses of action.

To properly utilise this tool, ECES under the EU-SDGN component 1 programme held the training with INEC Public Affairs and Voter Education staff from Headquarters, Kogi and Bayelsa in attendance.

At the opening ceremony of the event, National Commissioner Festus Okoye mentioned the need for continuous voter education to heighten the awareness of citizens about electoral matters but to do this effectively, INEC Public Affairs and Voter Education Officers must have expertise and skills that allow them to compete with persons who proliferate misinformation. ECES Coordination Advisor and Electoral Administrative Expert, Manji Wilson, in his goodwill message applauded the work done so far by the Voter Education and Publicity (VEP) Department and underpinned ECES continuous support to the commission.

ECES Senior Media Expert, Paul Anderson speaking on the Introduction to media monitoring, equipment, an outline of modalities, training outline helped participants narrow down necessary media stations for effective coverage. Among the facilitators of the 4-day training were the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi; National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Director Abuja Zone, Mrs Franka Aiyetan; the Director Institute for Media and Society, Dr Akin Akingbulu and Program Manager, Sunny Dada; the Director of the Nigerian Press Council (NPC), Stella Jibrin; Mr Edetaen Ojo, Director Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and ECES Political Party Expert, Mr Jide Ojo.

As the media monitoring training came to an end, the participants were shown the media monitoring center being setup within the commission and the commission expressed optimism at the results that this training is set to bring to the work done in the Voter Education, Media & Publicity department. Director Voter Education, Publicity and Gender, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi thanked the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) for the landmark made in the media monitoring arm of the commission.