The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has cautioned political gladiators to desist from further heating up the polity with the numerous allegations being peddled against INEC officials and security agencies.
The group in a statement signed by its Chairperson, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said it was concerned about attempts to damage the credibility of some of the National Commissioners of INEC who over time had proved themselves as worthy Ambassadors of the country.
“TMG is concerned about attempts to damage the credibility of some of the National Commissioners of INEC who over time have proved themselves as worthy ambassadors of Nigeria. We are more concerned in particular, about the petition submitted by the Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Akwa Ibom chapter, calling for the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, for alleged partisanship and other sundry offences ahead of the general polls in the country”, said TMG
The group further stated that Igini had since refuted the allegations, saying that the allegations deserve scrutiny from the authorities if Nigerians were to get a sense of closure from the terrible events of the recent past when politicians subverted the democratic choices and aspirations of Nigerians.
“To be clear however, the allegations deserve scrutiny from the authorities, if Nigerians are to get a sense of closure from the terrible events of the recent past when politicians subverted the democratic choices and aspirations of Nigerians through whimsical political gimmicks to gain electoral advantage”, said TMG
“Nevertheless, the call for the removal and probe of REC Igini and other INEC top officials few days to the general elections on unfounded allegations would only amount to a shady scheme to undermine the credibility of the electoral process and unnecessary meddling in the affairs of INEC by the ruling party”, said the group
“As we expect INEC to discharge its duty without fear or favour, we therefore call on all political parties to refrain from actions that are capable of overheating the polity as well as activities that tend to derail our fledgling democracy”, said the group
“We also urge various stakeholders to be vigilant as we move closer to the 2019 polls. TMG makes no mistake about the fact that the country will witness more of such allegations and counter-allegations from political parties as the 2019 polls approach”, said the group
TMG added “The current INEC has a reputation of having some of the finest brains in the country in their midst and this should be appreciated by all Nigerians. Of course, the postponement of last Saturday’s election may have affected the perception of Nigerians, but we must support INEC to deliver a credible electoral process. Any attempt to rupture its credibility will affect the democratic journey of this country”
The group called for a general audit of logistic and operational processes of INEC after the elections and a panel to investigate its systems and processes to prevent future elections postponement.
“Nigeria’s electoral system should be experienced enough to avoid the kind of hiccups that are gradually defining our electoral processes. It is the vigilance of the electorates and critical stakeholders that would prevent any plans to subvert and undermine the vote of the people. It is clear to us that the only way to prevent electoral malpractices is for all stakeholders to keep an eye of the entire electoral process, in order to protect its credibility”, said TMG
The group further called on CSOs to build synergies, share information and massively engage the electoral process, with a view to deterring desperate political actors who may want to unnecessarily charge the polity in order to compromise the electoral process.
The group concluded in its statement “We also call on former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar’s Peace Commission to step up its game to ensure the commitment of political parties to the peace agreement and pact signed for peaceful elections to prevent any form of violence and malpractices that could trigger pre-or post -election conflicts. Nigeria is too fragile to go into full scale conflict. We, therefore, call on all Nigerians to maintain peace and shun violence for the sake of Nigeria!”