The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has launched a new short-code -4623 toward fighting fake news, ahead of Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly Election.
Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, said this when he received a donation of Information Technology facilities from Community Life Project (CLP) and the Ford Foundation in Abuja on Thursday.
Okoye said that the short-code was part of INEC Citizens Contact Centre (ICCC) aimed at combating fake news by giving out authentic information to Nigerians.
He appealed to Nigerians to make use of the short code to get authentic information from the commission.
The national commissioner pledged that INEC would continue to open and make information available to the media and members of the public.
“As it has been pointed out that we have launched a short code 4632 which will enable citizens to contact INEC Citizens contact center in real time and they will get response.
“We want to appeal to the media and the citizens to make use of these facilities so that they can get authentic information because we have a lot of misinformation and disinformation all over the place.
“Also, we do not want Nigeria to be confused in relation to electoral processes and electoral procedure,’’ Okoye said.
He commended the CLP and ford foundation for the donation, saying it will enable Nigerians to contact the commission in real time and also get responses in real time.
Okoye said that the IT facilities and gadgets were very important as Nigeria moved closer to the Feb. 25 presidential and National Assembly elections, as Information was power and critical in the electoral process.
“There is no doubt that Nigerians testy for information.
“The commission is desirous on making sure that Nigerians get authentic information that will enable them make informed choices in relation to the electoral process and around electoral process and electoral issues.
“This commission does not believe in any form of censorship. The chairman of the commission has reiterated it over and over that the antidote to fake news is openness and transparence.
“So, the commission is up to transparency and providing real information to Nigerians to enable them make informed choices,’’ Okoye said.
The CLP Programme Manager, Mr Francis Onahor, while presenting the facilities founded by Ford Foundation, said they would help the commission in the conduct of 2023 General Election.
Onahor said facilities offered the public the opportunity to get real-time responses to inquiries, incident reports, and queries about any aspect of the electoral process.
He said that CLP had been engaging with INEC for over a decade in promoting inclusion and popular participation toward electoral integrity.
“CLP considers an efficient and effective ICCC as a critical element in making citizens’ voices heard by the Commission.
“We have no doubt that these facilities will contribute significantly to boosting INEC’s capacity to resolve electoral incidents and offer citizens better opportunities to exercise their franchise.
“We commend the Commission for its commitment to using ICT to improve our electoral system and for facilitating citizens’ active participation in election day management,” Onahor said.
He also commended the management and staff of Interra Network Limited, who provided the services, for the professionalism and efficiency they displayed in setting up the IT facilities for the ICCC.
The representative Interra Network Limited, Mr Emeka Okafor, said the facilities were put in place to enable citizens contact INEC in real time.
“This is all part of INEC continued efforts in terms of bringing in technology and making access to excel and making it easier for citizens to access genuine information.
He commended INEC and Nigeria Communications Technology and CLP for the partnership, saying the company look forward to credible and peaceful elections.(NAN)