- As the Nigeria 2023 general elections draw nearer, false information, unverified news, and misinformation would likely be on the rise again
- Mischievous persons in the country are likely to use fake news to cause unrest and chaos in the country
- An initiative to put such actions in the bud has been launched, using cutting-edge technology to identify false information and fake propaganda
FCT, Abuja - FactCheck Initiative (FCI) has created a team for a cause that will involve partnering with the government and other agencies in other to have free, fair, and peaceful elections in Nigeria void of any form of violence in 2023.
The main aim of this cause will be to spot, examine and respond to the impact caused by any misleading information ahead of the upcoming 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
Adeoye Temitope, country director, FactCheck Initiative said in a statement:
“Complementing the efforts of government and other institutions in achieving a state of total spread of authentic information is one of our main aims and objectives.
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“This cause will help to defend Nigeria's open and democratic society and free opinions by selecting, analysing, and tackling inappropriate influences and other misleading information directed at the general elections in 2023.
“It will swiftly determine any unsavoury information or news rapidly spreading and nip it in the bud as quickly as possible.
“We are also open to as many partnerships and support we can get; so, organizations/individuals in and outside Nigeria can reach out to us to join the cause.
“The team will be tasked with identifying and countering foreign propaganda and disinformation; also observing social media closely before the general elections in 2023 to identify countries who may have taken an interest in seeing the elections take an unpleasant turn which Nigerians may not be favourable disposed towards.”
He added that fact-checking is highly effective in fighting misinformation, stressing that it is imperative to not just consider the narratives of "facts" and "fake news" but embolden fact checking positions by considering human nature, interactions, and inter-relatedness.
“Fact-checking is a form of critical, investigative inquiry. We must make it our daily duty to push towards the truth as we live in a world where fame can happen overnight and it is, therefore, important to ground oneself in knowledge and the pursuit of knowledge.
“In the same vein, false statements can just as easily become viral as true ones and where untrue beliefs seem to go unchecked, it's pretty easy to become discouraged about the truth and the pursuit of it.
“News bodies reporting rumors and unverified claims tend to do so in ways that bias the reader toward thinking the claim is true. A claim makes its way to social media or elsewhere online.
“Once given a stamp of credibility by the press, the claim is now positioned for other news sites to follow on and repeat it, pointing back to the earlier sites. Eventually, its point of origin is obscured by a mass of interlined news articles, few of which add reporting or context for the reader.”
INEC requires N305 billion to conduct the 2023 general elections
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu has revealed that the electoral body will require N305 billion to conduct the 2023 general elections.
He disclosed this during a meeting with the Senate committee on appropriation at the National Assembly on Monday, December 20, 2021.
The INEC boss also noted that the amount will enable the commission to prepare for the election and purchase all the materials needed and also cover several bye-elections across the country.
Senate receives seven INEC nominees from President Buhari
Recall that the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, received a formal request from President Muhammadu Buhari to confirm the appointment of six nominees as National Commissioners, and one other as Resident Electoral Commissioner for INEC.
The request was contained in a letter dated Friday, December 10, 2021, and read during plenary by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan.
President Buhari explained that the request was made pursuant to paragraph 14 of Part (1) of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended).