A spate of insecurity in the country poses a huge threat to the planned 2023 elections, the transition monitoring group has warned.
TMG Chairman Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, who visited The PUNCH with some members of the executive committee on Monday, noted that preparations for the 2023 elections had begun to show some worrying signs.
He noted that some forms of political intolerance among politicians and their supporters had not gone unnoticed.
Rafsanjani said: “For example, we have noticed disruptions in voter registration during the registration process at polling stations and constituencies, which some politicians consider to be their own voting weak areas.
“As the election campaign began, we noticed that certain politicians and political parties or their supporters were not allowed to hold legitimate political office in state facilities controlled by the opposition government.
“This insensitive display of intolerance is a factor in brewing an election that will ultimately not be free, fair, credible and participatory.”
The TMG team noted that Nigeria’s democracy has come a long way, especially with the revised Elections Act 2022 offering new hope for credible elections in 2023.
They added that the National Independent Electoral Commission had introduced systemic innovation reforms, which helped to create more citizens, especially young people, who were interested in participating in the electoral process.
“While these are very encouraging signs, if politicians’ actions are allowed to go unchecked and unreported, it will undermine the enormous efforts that the media and civil society are trying to achieve in electoral reform in Nigeria,” the chairman said.
Rafsanjani said his team intends to hold politicians accountable for every promise made during the campaign.
“TMG is collecting and recording politicians’ and parties’ campaign promises with the ultimate goal of engaging citizens to hold elected politicians and parties accountable,” he said.
“Additionally, TMG wants to work with electoral debate groups to ensure that political parties and their candidates participate in the public debate as part of civic engagement, as we believe that strong civic engagement leads to more credible elections.
“As documented in previous elections in Nigeria, the issue of vote-buying remains a major issue even in primaries that produce major party candidates.
“Similarly, electoral violence has been a feature of major elections in Nigeria, and TMG is concerned about the potential for intimidation of voters to attend.”