A coalition of Civil Society Organisations has urged media practitioners to give ample coverage to the ongoing National Assembly Election Tribunals sitting across the country.
The African Parliamentary Advocates and Reform Group (APARG) in collaboration with the Coalition of Parliamentary Advocates and Democracy Consolidation in Nigeria (COPADECON) made the call in Abuja, while briefing national assembly correspondents.
The convener of the coalition, Mr Chibuzo Okereke who decried the poor reportage on the National Assembly tribunals, said the legislature as the fulcrum of democracy is the closest arm of government to the people and the only arm that offers the largest direct representation of citizens.
According to him, in spite of the fundamental role the National and sub-national legislatures play in a democratic system as practiced in Nigeria, the interest of Nigerians in this all-important arm of government leaves much to be desired.
“We have once again, observed and are concerned about what again appears to be an untended suppression and low interest of the major media organisations in the proceedings of the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunals.
“Whereas the various flagship platforms of major media organisations are daily saturated with the reportage of the proceedings of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunals, little or no attention has been channeled toward the interesting and intriguing proceedings that have characterised the NAEPT.
Mr Okereke said about 50 per cent out of the 469 seats in the National Assembly are being challenged at the various Tribunals across the country.
He said that prominent among the cases is the Kano state Central Senatorial district petition which is now set for judgment by July 24.
The coalition called on the media to retool the approach to election petition reportage and ensure commensurate attention to the legislative election tribunal in the country.