● Calls for citizens’ participation to prevent rigging
The Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, has raised the alarm over the reported widespread violence across many local government areas ahead of the November 11 governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa State.
The TMG, at a media briefing on Thursday in Abuja, while noting that the evidence of the violence were before the public, however reminded every stakeholder, especially the political actors, that elections were not war, but a democratic exercise aimed at giving the people the chance to freely elect and decide those who governed over them.
Chairman, Transition Monitoring Group , TMG,
Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, in the text of his address, warned that violent conducts were undemocratic and posed serious threats to the development of democracy in Nigeria.
According to him, “It is important for security agencies to ensure citizens can vote in peaceful electoral atmosphere across the three states.”
The group, while demanding free, fair and transparent polls during the conduct of the off-cycle elections in the three states from the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said Nigerians did not want to see the Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa elections going this direction, creating doubts about the country’s ability to operate a democracy.
“Hence, it is important for all the political actors to abide by the electoral law and other governing frameworks on elections in Nigeria.
“This is important to eradicate any opportunity for the kind of judicial inconsistency and perceived connivance as largely associated with the general election,” it added.
Noting that citizens’ participation was crucial to credible election, the TMG also called on the voting populace of Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa to troop out in their numbers to cast their votes for their preferred candidates.
According to it, “Citizens must understand that democracy is about citizens participation and elections present the best opportunity for citizens to express their will and power.
“Citizen’s participation especially in large numbers also reduces manipulation opportunities for the political actors. Hence Citizens should desist from aiding and abetting malpractices, shun vote trading and keep an eagle eye on their votes.”
TMG also announced it had concluded plans to deploy observers in all the local government areas of the three states.
“The observers are currently undergoing training and will be deployed to observe and report through a digital on-the-spot reporting tool which has been developed.
“At the same time, a Central Data Centre will also be situated in Abuja with trained Data Clerks to collate and analyze reports from the field,” the group said.