The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has confirmed his readiness to keynote the 2022 conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) on Thursday, October 6, 2022, at Sheraton Hotel, Lagos.
His confirmation was conveyed via a letter dated September 19, 2022 and addressed to the President of GOCOP, Maureen Chigbo. The Chairman, Planning Committee of the conference, Ken Ugbechie, said the theme is ‘2023 Elections: Managing the Process for Credible Outcome’ and will be chaired by Dr. Umar Ardo, Founder of Centre for Alternative Policy Perspectives and Strategy (CAPPS).
Three panellists drawn from relevant stakeholders in civil society, legal profession, security and international organisations are expected at the event. They are Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN; Dr. Solomon Arase (Retired Inspector General of Police) and Dr. ChiChi Aniagolu-Okoye, Regional Director, Ford Foundation (West Africa).
Ugbechie noted that this year’s conference will be holding barely five months before the 2023 general elections and one week into the official commencement of campaigns by political parties, adding that it will provide a fitting roadmap for political actors and the various publics on the need to play by the rules and conform to acceptable electoral behaviour.
He further highlighted that this year’s conference will be heralded by a business luncheon with GOCOP partners and other media stakeholders on Wednesday, October 5, at the same venue.
It would be recalled that previous speakers at GOCOP conferences included Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto who took to the podium in 2019 to speak on “Economy, Security and National Development: The Way Forward”.
In 2021, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation keynoted the Conference in his capacity as Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19. He spoke on: “Post Covid-19 Pandemic: Recovery and Reconstruction in Nigeria.”
A press statement by Remmy Nweke, Publicity Secretary of GOCOP quoted Ugbechie as saying that “the Guild was established to ensure that online publishers uphold the tenets of journalism in doing their jobs with membership cutting across Editors and senior journalists who, having distinguished themselves in the print and broadcast journalism, ventured into online journalism which is both the present and future of journalism globally.”
“The conference is therefore a veritable platform for the distillation and sharing of ideas from a carefully chosen array of resource persons from the entire socio-political ecosystem. GOCOP intends to use the opportunity of the conference to moderate the already tense political climate as well as to proffer solutions to current and anticipated challenges arising from the elections,” the statement said.