A foremost independent civil society election observation group, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has raised the alarm over the high rate of political intolerance by states and irate citizens as the 2023 elections draw closer.
In a statement signed on Thursday, the TMG Chairman, Comrade Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, lamented the vandalisation of INEC offices and attack on personnels in some states as well as refusal of state governments to allow opposition to use public facilities for their campaigns and rallies.
“The high rate of cases of arson at the INEC offices in Ogun and Osun States which has led to the loss of 904 election boxes and 65,699 uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) have become an alarming issue with the critical infrastructure of INEC increasingly being targeted, recent attacks appear like a systematic assault meant to cripple INEC operations ahead of the 2023 general election.
“We have also witnessed scenarios where some state governments prevent the opposition from using public facilities for their campaigns which have been readily available to them.
“It is on the backdrop that TMG is partnering the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE), an initiative funded by USAID to support citizens’ engagement in the 2023 general elections, the partnership is aimed at improving citizen’s participation and stakeholders’ engagement towards a violent-free, participatory and credible 2023 election.”
According to Mr Rafsanjani, the organisations will deploy a wide range of membership across the country to ensure a nationwide outreach of the objectives of the collaboration.
“The collaboration among the two foremost organisations will adopt robust engagements with stakeholders while also initiating a system to monitor and publicize the campaign promises of the major political parties before and after the elections.
“Also the partnership will also be seeking to promote an issue-based electoral campaign and to observe and report electoral conduct to reflect the yearnings of citizens in the elections,” the statement noted.
Mr Rafsanjani added that part of what the partnership intends to address include issues such as election violence and thuggery, vote-buying and voters harassment.
Other issues, according to the statement, included intimidation by security officials and government officials and also to closely monitor the e-electoral process to avoid any anomaly in the elections.
“In achieving the set objectives, TMG will be adopting the following approaches, documenting and publicising election promises of candidates and political parties, training the trainers workshop for TMG members across the country in Abuja, and supporting electoral debates for select parties at the state and national levels,” the statement added.