By Progress Godfrey, Abuja
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), has called on the Federal Government to address the multifaceted security challenges bedeviling the Nation before 2023 elections.
The group also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant agencies to tackle the menace of electoral corruption to allow voters form a more objective opinion of the people they are to vote for.
The Chairman of the Transition Monitoring Group, Mr Auwal Musa Rafsanjani said this in Abuja on Thursday at the maiden Press Conference of the group following his assumption of office
He said, “In the aftermath of the unacceptable attack on the Nigeria Defence Academy, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) is compelled to react to several unsavoury developments in the polity. We expect that government would nip the security issue in the bud and tow an acceptable and less divisive path of bringing a lasting end to the security challenges that presently bedevil the country. We, however, note with concern that the Federal Government and military have been treating the issue of our national security with levity while all geopolitical zones continue to bleed in a manner that portends grave danger to our hard-earned democracy.
“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, thugs razing down electoral management offices, killing of security personnel, burning of police stations and kidnapping of electoral officials. There is a pervasive atmosphere of uncertainty as to when the government will address the cases of banditry and kidnapping that have engulfed the country and also tackle the problem associated with criminal herdsman.
“TMG calls on the government to urgently address our multifaceted security challenge before the conduct of the 2023 election 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.
“Corruption in Nigeria’s electoral processes is showing no signs of leaving soon as politicians continue to flaunt unaccounted campaign spendings and party financing by using illegitimate funds as the sole means of winning voters over. INEC and other relevant agencies need to tackle the menace to allow voters to form a more objective opinion of the people they are to vote for.”
He stated that since 1999, credible local government elections in Nigeria have been illusory with the processes and outcome of the LGA election remaining the will of the state and ruling party rather than reflecting the consent and aspirations of the people as electorates.
He, therefore, called on Nigeria governor’s forum, political parties and relevant agencies to join voices and put a stop to the rape of rural governance that potent grave danger for participatory democracy.
“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 and 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 rape of rural governance that potent grave danger for participatory democracy, accountability and rural development. We call on the Nigeria governor’s forum, political parties and relevant stakeholders to join voices in ensuring that credible LGA elections are prioritized and conducted as at when due and reforms should be put in place for local institutional strengthening and framework for local government development.
“It is also of great concern that the autonomy of state judiciary and houses of assembly are yet to take effect. This has 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 said
According to him, the TMG condemns the ongoing attempts to use agencies that are paid from the taxpayer’s funds of Nigerians to intimidate the citizenry, adding that the brazen infringement on the fundamental rights and civil liberties of Nigerians is a recipe for chaos and anarchy.
“The barbaric use of security forces to intimidate fellow citizens is unacceptable. We, therefore, call on the government to immediately bring to a halt the ongoing intimidation of citizens who are expressing their fundamental rights of opinion on national issues across the country. We make bold to say that the government is further eroding its legitimacy as long as it continues to use the military and other security agencies to intimidate and harass fellow Nigerians. This brazen infringement on the fundamental rights and civil liberties of Nigerians is a recipe for chaos and anarchy.
“This is an unfortunate return to those despicable days of the military when the goons of state were used to attempt a rollback of civil liberties and freedom. Thankfully, the forces of history were on the side of the Nigerian people.
“The heroic sacrifices of courageous Nigerians ensured that the military was chased out of the political space to the barracks, where they rightfully belong under full civilian control. The result is the current democracy that Nigerians enjoy today, despite all its many flaws, ” he added
He therefore stated that the TMG will do its best to advocate for electoral transparency and accountability by mobilizing Nigerians to demand positive change in the electoral process.