The Transition Monitoring Group has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to use the March 11 governorship elections to repair its reputation.
This comes as the TMG criticised the conduct of the February 25 general election, claiming that INEC failed to deliver a clear mandate.
This was revealed in a post-election observation report signed by the TMG’s Chairman, Auwal Rafsanjani, who stated that the organisation had deployed 774 observers across all local government areas of the country in accordance with INEC’s standards.
According to the report, INEC’s refusal to abandon electronic transmission of polling unit results raised concerns about human intervention in the electoral process.
“The TMG states unambiguously that the conduct of the 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections were poor, especially the insistence of the commission to jettison immediate result transmission from polling units across the country. This singular act has given room for suspicion of human interference and manipulation of results and could truncate the will of the people as freely expressed at the poll.
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The elections were expected to usher in a much more improved and digitised electoral process in Nigeria. It is in this regard that INEC received an unprecedented whooping sum of N355 billion to conduct a credible election. Despite this humongous financial commitment, and the incredible support received from the international community and civil society organisations, INEC failed to deliver on a straightforward mandate of meeting the expectations of Nigerians,” the statement said.
TMG further noted that disparities in the credibility level of the National Assembly elections where incumbent governors and sitting Assembly members contested and lost across the country pointed to an effective system “when applied as it should be,” while however stating that it believed the presidential election to be a “direct manipulation of outcome,” as opposed to the Assembly elections.
The group also called for the sustenance and advancement of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, noting that the use of the BVAS had been seen to reduce the level of rigging, by curtailing overvoting.
“TMG wishes to emphasise its belief in the digitisation of the electoral process in Nigeria and calls for sustenance and advancement of the process. For instance, the BVAS was seen to minimise the scale of rigging that could have occasioned the election by curtailing issues of overvoting. The TMG strongly supports continuous use and further introduction of technology to improve the electoral system in Nigeria,” the organisation added.
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It called on citizens not to let spirits be dampened as the country approached the March 11 governorship and state Assembly elections, while also urging INEC to use the opportunity to redeem itself.
“As we approach the governorship and state Assembly elections, the TMG is urging citizens to not let their spirits be dampened and to turn out in large numbers to elect their governors and lawmakers peacefully. The TMG is also urging INEC to redeem itself by conducting a much more credible election on March 11, 2023, across the country.”
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