The Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, has called on the Federal Government to solve the security challenges bedeviling the country ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The group’s chairman, Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani, who made the call while addressing newsmen on Thursday, expressed fear that 2023 elections may be marred by voter apathy due to insecurity..
He said: “TMG calls on the government to urgently address our multi-faceted security challenge before the conduct of the 2023 election.
“This is to prevent voter apathy that may arise due to the inability of voters to travel to conduct their civic rights, the safety of electoral materials and electoral officials and the credibility of the electoral result.’’
Noting that corruption in Nigeria’s electoral processes was showing no signs of leaving soon, Mr Rafsanjani regretted that politicians were parading unaccounted campaign spending and party financing by using illegitimate funds as the sole means of winning voters over.
According to him, INEC and other relevant agencies needed to tackle the menace to allow voters to form a more objective opinion of the people they are to vote for.
Mr Rafsanjani said that the new leadership would revolutionize the process of election observation in Nigeria and lead to the building of integrity and legitimacy of the entire electoral process, particularly elections and their outcome.
He added that TMG sought to secure the highest standards in the administration of elections in Nigeria by ensuring that the election management body and the electorates carried out their responsibilities during elections under the Law.
He said that the group would not just observe elections but would also ensure that good governance was entrenched in Nigeria through responsible leadership.
The group sought amendment of the Independent National Electoral Commissions, INEC Act to empower it to conduct local council elections for improved credibility and fairness.
According to the chairman, since 1999, credible local government elections in Nigeria have been illusory.
“The processes and outcome of the LGA election have remained the will of the state and ruling party rather than reflecting the consent and aspirations of the people as electorates.
“The political interference from the state government and partisanship of the state independent electoral commission has led to a lack of trust in local elections.
“It has also led to the increasing case of voter apathy with inconsistency in the application of electoral guidelines and poor communication channels between state electoral commission and electoral stakeholders.
“TMG sees this as the rape of rural governance that potent the grave danger for participatory democracy, accountability and rural development,’’ he said.
TMG charged the Nigeria Governor’s Forum, political parties and relevant stakeholders to join voices in ensuring that credible LGA elections were prioritised and conducted as at when due.
He also said that reforms should be put in place for local institutional strengthening and a framework for local government development.
He added that it was also of great concern that the autonomy of states judiciary and houses of the assembly was yet to take effect.
This, he said, had continued to fuel disregard for the rule of law and court orders.
“Without the autonomy, separation of powers and checks and balances in Nigeria will remain only on paper as the executive continues to technically wield the powers of the other two arms of government,” he added.
Mr Rafsanjani said that the group condemned the attack on the Nigeria Defense Academy adding that it was unacceptable, therefore the government was expected to nip the security issue in the bud.
He said that the electoral processes have had their share of violence with the secessionist movement calling for a boycott of the election with threats to disrupt the poll and thugs razing down electoral management offices.
He added that the electoral process had also witnessed the killing of security personnel, burning of police stations and kidnapping of electoral officials.
The chairman stated that TMG would make a deliberate effort and intervention towards ensuring that the electoral process delivered dividends of democracy and sustainable development to the people which is lacking in Nigeria.
He revealed that the group plans to advocate for reforms to institutionalise internal democracy in Nigeria’s Political Parties because they were the platforms upon which leaderships from the grassroots to the national level would emerge.
He noted that TMG frowned at the current state of political parties in Nigeria with the lingering crisis suggesting an apparent lack of internal democracy, privatization and commercialization of political parties where godfatherism holds absolute control.
According to him, the group would be observing party conventions as part of its commitment to provide technical support to intraparty reforms and entrenchment of internal democracy.
Mr Rafsanjani also disclosed that TMG would engage in massive voters’ education by educating Nigerians against manipulative practices such as vote-buying.