The United States government yesterday announced the allocation of $50 million as technical assistance for the 2023 polls in Nigeria.
US Consul General, Will Stevens, was quoted as saying that the sum will take care of preparations for the polls in terms of training journalists as well as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) for election reporting and technical assistance among others.
Stevens, who spoke in Ibadan, Oyo state, during an open session of election reporting workshop for journalists organised by West Africa Broadcast & Media Academy (WABMA), explained that the US government is interested in seeing that every vote counts during the forthcoming elections.
Journalists who attended the three-day intensive election reporting workshop for South West, were selected from Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti States.
He added that the US government had been working closely with partners through the US Agency for International Development(USAID) to ensure that the election is as transparent as possible.
“The US government has allocated over $50 million for technical assistance and support, training, for civil society organisations to support elections, transparency, elections processes, technical assistance, working on the IT systems among others
“We’re committed to initiatives here in Nigeria to build needed capacity. We funded training for hundreds of journalists on topics ranging from fact-checking, health reporting, defence and national security reporting, investigative journalism, election reporting, and media ethics,” he disclosed.
The US official noted that the country will continue to emphasise the value of voting and protecting a free press.
The workshop, organised by the West Africa Broadcast and Media Academy (WABMA), with the support of United States Consulate General and Enugu Literary Society, ongoing at the American Space, Jericho, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Stevens added that the essence of the programme was to enlighten people on their civic responsibilities and the need for them to participate in the elections, stating that the US would continue to emphasise the importance and value of voting.
Also speaking, the Team Lead, Election Reporting Project (ERP), Ken Ike-Okere, stated that the workshop was organised to build the capacity of 150 Nigerian political journalists, photojournalists, videographers, and political editors, who will cover the 2023 election cycle.
He added that the participants at the event of the event, should be able to manage an election coverage reporting website dedicated to political journalism content produced them, noting that similar training would be held in Lagos, Enugu and Port Harcourt in Rivers state.
The Dean, School of Communication and Chair, Department of Radio, Television and Film, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, United States, Prof Chris Ulasi; former Dean, School of Communication, University of Lagos, Prof Lai Oso; and a journalist with the Associated Press (AP), Mrs. Grace Ekpu, were among the resource persons at the workshop.