In a significant press conference held at the CISLAC Conference Room in Abuja, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) highlighted various concerns and issues surrounding the impending off-cycle elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states, scheduled for November 11, 2023.
TMG expressed grave concerns about the prevailing insecurity in the three states. Reports from partner organizations, including the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and Kimpact Development Initiative, have raised red flags over rampant violence in several local government areas.
TMG emphasized the necessity for peaceful elections and urged security agencies to ensure a secure atmosphere for voters.
Of significant concern was an alleged memo circulating from the Imo state government, reserving every hotel room in Owerri for the election period. This has led to speculation that domestic and foreign observers are being effectively barred from entering the state.
TMG called for the immediate clarification of these allegations, highlighting the detrimental impact such actions can have on the democratic process.
The disqualification and subsequent reinstatement of the APC candidate in Bayelsa have created ambiguity.
TMG questioned whether this information has been effectively communicated to the public to prevent further unrest and confusion in the state.
TMG raised concerns regarding a surprising ₦18 billion supplementary budget allocated to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the off-cycle elections. Given that INEC had assured funding availability for these elections, TMG called for transparency and detailed explanations from the federal government to alleviate suspicions of potential malpractices.
TMG underscored the importance of INEC’s independence in determining election results, advocating for a transparent electoral process that minimizes reliance on the judiciary.
Inconsistencies in election tribunal rulings, such as the discovery of unsigned ballot papers, have shaken public trust in the electoral and judicial processes.
TMG warned against a similar situation in the upcoming elections and urged all political actors to uphold the rule of law.
TMG criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling that allows manual collation of results, stating that this could create opportunities for result falsification. They called on INEC to enhance its use of technology for credible elections.
TMG decried the political impasse in Rivers State, urging federal intervention to safeguard democracy from further erosion.
TMG expressed concerns over the partisan appointment of Resident Electoral Commissioners and called for appointments based on neutrality and merit.
TMG admonished political parties for neglecting their role in providing civic education to the electorate and urged them to prioritize clean and citizen-oriented campaigns.
TMG revealed plans to deploy observers to all local government areas, highlighting the essential role citizens play in ensuring a free, fair, transparent, and credible election.
TMG encouraged citizens to actively participate in the electoral process, emphasizing that their involvement reduces opportunities for electoral malpractice and bolsters the integrity of the elections.