Posted by Sodiq Omolaoye | a week ago
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must use the Saturday Governorship and State Assembly elections to redeem its image by conducting credible elections across the country, Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, has said.
The organisation also urged the commission to ensure smooth distribution of election materials, as well as working Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines and also immediate upload of results on the IReV portal.
Chairman of the Group, Auwal Rafsanjani, in a statement on Friday, said: “Once again, the INEC is promising a smooth electioneering process. INEC has been granted judicial leeway to reconfigure the BVAS device, and promised to use the device judiciously to deliver its mandate having learnt from the shortcomings of the February 25, 2023 elections.
“INEC is also promising to ensure that the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal will deliver real time results. Moreover, it has noted the hiccups associated with the distribution of electoral materials on the day of the election and promised that the gubernatorial and state assemblies’ elections would be a different ball game.
“While TMG commends these promises, it urges INEC to live up to its words this time around as TMG maintains that its performance in this regard in the Presidential Election was abysmal.
“TMG believes that delayed commencement of voting as a result of the late arrival of INEC officials and incomplete setting up of polling units should not be part of the March 18, 2023 story. Furthermore, the display of ballot papers by highly placed individuals as seen in the last elections should be discouraged.”
TMG also called on security agencies to work with INEC to ensure that security issues witnessed during last election does not repeat, adding that security agencies should be more effective in discharging their duties in the forthcoming elections.
Rafsanjani, who further urged Nigerians to come out and vote, said INEC must adhere strictly to the electoral act, adding that electoral offenders must be punished in line with laws.
“As an aftermath of the February 25, 2023 election, TMG is observing different actions, comments and inactions of those directly or indirectly involved in the elections such as political parties, their candidates and their supporters. In some states, citizens are being threatened on their perceived choice to exercise their franchise overtly and covertly.
“In states such as Lagos, Abia, Bauchi, Kano and Rivers states for instance, citizens are being threatened, intimidated and harassed on the perception of supporting political opponents. Therefore, security agencies are urged to up their game and support INEC, election observers and other law abiding citizens to ensure that hoodlums and political thugs do not have their way to disenfranchise citizens,” Rafsanjani said.
He continued: “TMG commends the professionalism displayed by the security agencies in the last Presidential election and urges security agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission officials, to double their efforts aimed at maintaining peace and in reducing the incidence of vote trading.
“The TMG continues to commend the enthusiasm demonstrated by the Nigerian citizens and commend their good conduct and orderly behaviour in the February 2023 elections.
“TMG has carried out sensitisation and awareness creation rallies in the states, urging electorate to shun apathy and come out again enmasse to cast and defend their votes through all legal and peaceful means.
“There must be strict adherence to the Electoral Act 2022 by everyone involved in the electioneering process. Electoral offenders of any kind must be punished under the laws of the country to dissuade others from perpetrating electoral offences in Nigeria.”