WELCOME REMARKS BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR MEDIA AND SOCIETY (IMS), DR AKIN AKINGBULU, AT THE STAKEHOLDERS MEETING OF THE MEDIA COMPONENT OF THE EU SUPPORT TO DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA PROJECT, HELD AT REIZ CONTINENTAL HOTEL, ABUJA, ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2018.
It is my pleasure to welcome you to this important event. We at the Institute for Media and Society feel highly honoured to see that you prioritize participation in this activity in place of several competing commitments.
In about two decades, Nigeria has continued to build democracy. Our progress in the process has also continued to attract interest and attention at home and abroad.
As you are aware, an important project was launched in this city about three weeks ago. It is called EU SUPPORT TO DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA. It has brought together key national and international players to implement a diversity of components.
The initiative seeks to strengthen governance institutions so that they can play their appropriate roles in the electoral process and wider democratic governance. It seeks to reinforce democracy through building strong, effective and legitimate ]democratic institutions. Hence, one finds in this project, such implementation pillars as INEC, NASS, Political Parties, the Media and Civil Society.
Like the others, Support to Media is an important component, designed to achieve a specific objective: that the media provide fair, accurate and ethical coverage of the electoral process in Nigeria. Our organization, the Institute for Media and Society has responsibility for implementation in the pillar called SUPPORT TO MEDIA. Within this pillar, the work is to seek to achieve the objective through:
- Enhancing professionalism of media practitioners.
- Improving the diversification, deepening and delivery of civic and voter education.
- Strengthening the capacity of the media regulator for improved performance of its mandate.
- Improving media engagement in promoting women, youths and marginalized groups in politics.
The foregoing are very important issues for the media in Nigeria at this time. More than ever, professionalism must improve. Attention to civic and voter education must be more vigorous and sensitive to the nation’s diversity. More conscious efforts must be made to mainstream hitherto marginalized sections of the population in politics. The regulatory environment must be improved.
This project will run for a little over four years and it is expected to be spread to all the geographical sections of the country.
Ladies and gentlemen, the implementation of the SUPPORT TO MEDIA component gives high consideration to stakeholders. Since the design and proposal development stage, stakeholders have been involved through active consultation. This involvement is continuing in the implementation stage. This is the first in the series of annual activities which bring stakeholders together all through the life span of this project.
We believe that stakeholders’ involvement in the implementation of this project will do many things which include: providing understanding of the project and building capacity of members of our constituency; feeding ideas and knowledge into implementation; providing continuous feedback; and developing stakeholders’ interest, participation and ownership.
Already, other implementing partners in the project are playing important stakeholder roles through such mechanisms as regular interactions to compare notes and development of common approaches to implement our component.
As the work continues to benefit from the diversity of stakeholders, we are confident that expected results will be delivered.
We wish to thank you all for coming to participate in this activity, We wish to thank our speakers, the chairs of the sessions and others who are going to play various roles here today.
We also wish to express our gratitude to the European Union for providing the funding support and the federal government of Nigeria for enabling this important initiative to happen in our country.
Thank you for your attention.