Coalition of Civil Society Organisations working in Nigeria on Saturday underscored the need for members of the 10th session of National Assembly to prioritize legislation to establish the Electoral Offenders Tribunal/Commission with a view to ensuring the timely dispensation of justice relating to electoral matters in Nigeria.
The Coalition includes Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Kano State Civil Society Elections Situation Room.
The Coalition’s position was contained in a statement jointly signed by Chairman, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) and Convener, Kano Civil Society Elections Situation Room, Ambassador Ibrahim Waiya frowned at the recent calls for the cancelation of the governorship election in Kano State and other parts of the country.
“The spread of this fictitious and malicious news, in a time when the political space in Nigeria is already heated up is not only worrisome but also has the potential to further overheat the polity. As champions of democracy, we will not allow sneer-campaigners and people with politically motivated reasons to drag credible civil society organisations in Kano and indeed, in Nigeria at large into political wars with political parties.
“TMG, like CISLAC and the Kano Civil Society Forum have done incredible work towards electoral reforms in Nigeria. Since 1998, TMG has championed the democratic path in Nigeria as the foremost election observation group with the widest membership across the length and breadth of Nigeria. Ahead of the 2023 general elections, TMG engaged extensively to mobilize citizens to participate actively in the electoral process, while also training and deploying independent observers across the 774 Local Governments in the country. TMG’s position as reflected in the statements it issued throughout the elections has been on the basis of first-hand observation and reports of its observers.
“In the same vein, CISLAC and the Kano Civil Society Forum have contributed their quota through stakeholders’ engagements to ensure electoral security and integrity, while also engaging to improve citizens’ participation. It is therefore unimaginable that, these groups of credible organisations would assume any form of partisan position in their actions or words as has been highlighted in these malicious reports.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it must be categorically stated, that as credible organisations duly accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to observe the 2023 general elections, TMG, CISLAC and Kano Civil Society Elections Situation Room understood their roles in the process and have performed such within the ambits of INEC’s guidelines.
“As credible organisations, we have efficiently performed our observatory function, drawing up recommendations for improvement in future elections. We will never interfere with the conduct of elections or seek to interfere with the judicial processes leading up to a redress of grievances resulting from the elections.
“As a matter of fact, no genuine civil society group will side with any political parties as the position of the group is expected to be apolitical. We regard as act of desperation and selfishness the attempt to rope credible organisations into reports that are clearly politically motivated and sponsored, which claimed to be speaking on behalf of the INEC accredited observer groups in Kano State.”
To this end, the Coalition called on the public to disregard in totality these wild reports making rounds and using the names of credible organisations and called for the cancelation of the governorship election in Kano State.
“We assure the public that we have never at any time issued such statements nor been a party to such conclusions. We strongly believe in democratic approaches to settling election disputes and encourage all who are not satisfied with the process to seek redress in the court of law.
“We urge the media to filter credible civil society groups from faceless, politically sponsored groups who hide under the names of credible organisations to concoct fake stories that suit their narratives. We implore the media to desist from availing such unscrupulous groups of the platform to propagate their disruptive, misleading, and fake stories.
“We warn sternly against the illegal use of our names to spin narratives that are capable of further heating up the polity and creating chaos in Kano State and in Nigeria. Any further misuse of our names in this direction will be met by litigation.
“While we note the widespread electoral violence and other forms of electoral malfeasance that categorized the governorship elections, particularly in Kano and other parts of the country, we stand by our earlier recommendations on the part of INEC and other stakeholders to improve the elections in Nigeria.”
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