By Angela Atabo
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has thrown its weight behind the amendment of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) Act that empower it to conduct Local Government elections.
According to TMG’s Chairman, Auwal Rafsanjani, at a news conference on the State of Electoral Process in Nigeria and State of the Nation in Abuja, this will improve election credibility in the country.
“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 electorate.
“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,’’ he said.
Rafsanjani called on 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 framework for local government development.
He added that it was also of great concern that the autonomy of states judiciary and houses of assembly were yet to take effect.
“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 said that the electoral processes have had their share of violence with the killing of security personnel, burning of police stations and kidnapping of electoral officials.
“TMG calls on the government to urgently address our multifaceted security challenges 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,’’ he said.
Rafsanjani said that the TMG sought to secure the highest standards in the administration of elections in Nigeria by ensuring that the election management body and the electorate carried out their responsibilities according to 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.
Rafsanjani said that TMG would make a deliberate effort towards ensuring that the electoral process delivered dividends of democracy and sustainable development to the people.
He said that the group would advocate for reforms to institutionalise internal democracy in Nigeria’s Political Parties.
This, he said, was because they were the platforms upon which leaderships from the grassroots to the national level would emerge.
He added that the group would be observing party conventions as part of its commitment to provide technical support to intraparty reforms and entrenchment of internal democracy.
Rafsanjani also said that TMG would engage in massive voters’ education against manipulative practices such as vote-buying.
He added that TMG would also be observing electoral tribunal cases to ensure that Nigerians were aware of the outcomes of proceedings in the court and that the rule of law was maintained.(NAN)