The Delta State government said it is hosting this year’s Nigeria Editors’ Conference organised by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), because it believes that the media is a critical stakeholder in the nation's effort to advance democracy.
Commissioner for Information, Patrick Ukah, said the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration, being a promoter of democratic ideals, was impressed with the theme of the conference: Credible Elections, Sustainable Democracy and the Nigerian Media.
“Governor Okowa, being an apostle of credible election as an enabler of sustainable democracy, was particularly excited at the theme because it reflects his firm belief that the sustainability of any democracy is dependent on the credibility of its electoral process.
“Between last December and now, Okowa has chaired two national conventions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the first being the convention, which produced Uche Secondus as Chairman of the party.
“He also chaired last week’s convention, which produced former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, as the party’s presidential flag-bearer. Both processes were largely acknowledged as free, fair and credible,” he said.
Ukah pointed out that the event will provide editors an opportunity to see, first-hand, the governor’s development strides across all sectors in the senatorial districts of the state.
The conference commenced yesterday in Asaba and ends on Sunday, October 14, 2018.
Its Chairman, Planning Committee, Ken Ugbechie, said the theme was chosen to reflect the prevailing political reality in the country, adding that Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, will deliver the keynote address.
President of NGE, Funke Egbemode, in a statement stressed that the theme was informed by a compelling responsibility 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 purportedly monetised 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 molding 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 also to advance a true democratic culture in the manner it reports politics and governance,” the statement reads.
Other speakers are governors, senior media executives, security experts, Google representatives and media specialists in digital journalism, among others.