Welcoming participants to the meet, Director Political Affairs, ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Remi Ajibewa said in deference to its Protocol on Good Governance and Democracy, ECOWAS has oversight responsibilities for the electoral processes in the West African region.
He said elections are being held in African states and for all of these elections, ECOWAS has been sending both short and long term Observer Missions to assess the exercises.
The mandate of the Missions he went on is to ensure impartiality, transparency credibility of the processes, adding that it is also charged with the task of assessing the performance of the main actors of the election, looking at the degree of civic education among other indicators while helping to create an atmosphere of public trust.
The doctor concluded that in all, the Missions observe the electoral processes and make valuable recommendations for the good of the countries and the region as a whole.
Day one of the encounter saw statements from Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Independent Media Commission (IMC) and most importantly, PowerPoint presentations on ‘Democratic Media Regulation and Peacebuilding’ by Francis Sowa, Commissioner IMC Sierra Leone; ‘Media and Elections in Member States…challenges, lessons learnt and opportunities: Experience from Ghana’ by Professor Kofi Agyekum Professor of Linguistics, University of Ghana; ‘Upholding Positive Media Values and Ethics in Programming during Electioneering Period…Nigeria Experience’ by Mrs. Eugenia Abu, Multimedia Strategist, Columnist, former Executive Director Programmes, Nigeria Television Authority Headquarters in Abuja and ‘Social Media and Citizens’ engagement in the Elections in Member States…the Nigeria Experience’ by Japhet Omojuwa, Chief Strategist, Alpha Reach, Nigeria.
Day two of the encounter also saw statements and PowerPoint presentations on ‘The Experience and Contributions of the Peace Council to the Conduct of 2015 General Elections in Nigeria’ by Professor Oshita Osang Oshita, Director General Institute of Peace and Security, Nigeria; ‘Regulating and Managing Professional Ethics in Radio and Television Broadcast’ by Professor Kofi Agyekum, Professor in Linguistics, University of Ghana; ‘The Media and Political Landscape in Sierra Leone’ by Kelvin Lewis, President SLAJ; ‘Managing Broadcast Programs in an Electioneering Year: The Role of Television Stations’ by Elvis G.K. Hallowell, Director of SLBC; ‘The Role of Media in Promoting Women Participation in Politics’ by Professor Aishatu Abdul-Ismail, Director Centre for Gender Studies, Bayero University, Nigeria; ‘ECOWAS Norms and Standards for the Media in the Promotion of Peace and Security in West Africa’ by Eyesan Okorodudu, Head of Democracy and Good Governance Division, ECOWAS Commission; among other interesting presentations.