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Friday, February 23, 2018

Facebook Promises To Assist INEC Ahead Of 2019 Elections

The social media network said it will help in giving voter education to the Nigerian electorates so as to achieve a peaceful and credible elections in the country

- Mahmood Yakubu, INEC's chairman, expressed his gratitude to the network, and his confidence in its potentials to ensure a topnotch electoral process

Facebook has offered to assist the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in exploring methods to spread voter education and engage in useful discourse in a bid to achieving peaceful general elections come 2019.

INEC said that this was made known when a team from Facebook led by its public policy director for Africa Ebele Okobi, paid a courtesy visit to Mahmood Yakubu, the commission's chairman, at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, February 22, Premium Times reports.

Facebook, created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, is a social networking site for connecting with family and friends online and sharing information. It is currently the world’s largest social network, with over one billion users and fans throughout the world.

Okobi pointed out that with a membership base of 2.1 billion globally and 80 million from Nigeria, Facebook had discovered that the topics people mostly share are on elections and politics.

Okobi stated: “People care very deeply about how they are governed, about who governs them and other political issues. Knowing that people come to the platform to talk about what they care about, we have developed a politics and government programme essentially to understand how our platform is being used, not just during elections, but also to help governments engage with their citizens and also to see what the risks related to our platform in elections are and what opportunities and programmes can be put in place to address the risks. ”

She stated that the organisation is open to ideas on the improvement of its services and the electoral processes in Africa, especially in Nigeria.

Yakubu informed the team that the planning and conducting of elections are tough responsibilities for the commission.

He said: “A good election, I have always said, is a recipe for peace and a poorly conducted election could lead to violence and civil war. And part of it is the perception some people create on the social media.”

Yakubu acknowledged the massive following the commission enjoys on the social network, which, according to him, the largest among election management bodies in Africa. He underscored its potentials for engaging people in incisive discussions, disseminating information and the condemnation of false reports so as to make for peaceful elections.

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