By Chukwudi Nweje, Lagos
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has raised the alarm the series of violence across the country ahead of the 2023 general elections could mar the outcome of the polls.
The group raised the concern when its Chairman, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, and his team visited The Sun corporate office in Lagos.
Rafsanjani noted that TMG observed that the country was declining daily on all human development indices and added that the circumstances on the ground may impede the polls next year.
He said, “The build-up to the 2023 election has already thrown up some worrying signs and TMG is pertinently worried MG is particularly worried about some of the signals. In parts of the country, we have noted political intolerance among politicians and their supporters.
“Nigeria’s democracy has come a long way, especially with the Electoral Act 2022, while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also ushered into the system innovative reforms that have contributed to building up an increased mass of citizens that are interested in the electioneering process.
“We cannot assume that all is well because even the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the names of underaged voters in its register.
“We are not sure of the logistics for the elections because INEC relies on the road transport workers to move materials around, and we all know they may not be reliable.
“There are concerns that the ruling party pulls a lot of influence over INEC because you cannot appoint card-caring members of political parties and INEC commissioners. Nigerians need to see more serious action from INEC and less talk.”
Rafsanjani said that civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media must partner to protect democracy and commended The Sun for its efforts at protecting democracy.
He stated that TMG considered media partnership very crucial in addressing the emerging issues that could thwart the credibility of the elections next year.
Responding, Mr Iheanacho Nwosu, Editor, Daily Sun, who received the TMG delegation noted that The Sun had always partnered with the organization in promoting democracy as well as free and fair elections in Nigeria.
He however urged the organization not to assume that the press is always there, but to make efforts to reach out to the media when there are issues of national importance.
He advised TMG to go beyond advocacy and also push for the enactment of diaspora voting in the Nigerian electoral laws.
Also, on hand to receive the TMG delegation were the Editor Sunday Sun, Mr Chidi Nnadi, and the Editorial Board chairman, Dr Robert Obioha.