CENTRE FOR CIVIC EDUCATION
(a.k.a Transition Monitoring Group-TMG)
The Centre for Civic Education (a.k.a. Transition Monitoring Group – TMG) is the foremost independent civil society election observation organization in Nigeria.
Established in 1998 as a non-profit organization, the TMG now has over 400 member organizations committed to the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria after more than 30 years of repressive military rule.
The Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations and Code of Conduct for Nonpartisan Citizen Election Observers and Monitors embodies TMG’s approach to rights, responsibilities and ethical obligations of nonpartisan citizen election monitoring.
Thus, TMG is based on the precepts that: Authority of government derives from the will of the people expressed in genuinely democratic elections; Everyone has the right to participate in government and public affairs, including by seeking to be elected and to vote in genuinely democratic elections; Elections therefore belong to the people, and citizens have a right to know whether elections honestly and accurately reflect the people’s will.
Nonpartisan (politically impartial and independent) election monitoring by citizens is an extension of the rights to genuine elections, to participate in public affairs, to associate and to seek, receive and impart information in the electoral context.
It is both an exercise of fundamental rights and a form of human rights defending, because nonpartisan election monitoring by citizens seeks to safeguard electoral integrity, including the rights to participate in electoral and political processes. That is inseparable from defending the ability of citizens to exercise a broad array of civil and political rights and is affected by the actions of a range of governmental authorities, as well as political contestants.
TMG’s vision is that of a democratic Nigerian society where the well-being of the people will be the primary concern of governance.
TMG is committed to the advancement of democracy, and practice of democratic values and citizen participation. The key philosophy is that civic education is cardinal to the empowerment of the people.
The aims and objectives of the group’s work include the following:
- To develop integrity in the electoral process by monitoring and reporting on the prosecution of the political program
- To observe and monitor the conduct of elections in Nigeria
- To promote accountability, transparency and responsiveness among political leaders and in the public sector
- To encourage and promote participation of citizens especially of women and other marginalized or vulnerable groups in the political process
- To assist in capacity building for member organizations
- To provide civic education and democratic capacity building for public institutions
- To encourage wider dissemination of voter education materials;
- To advocate and campaign for the promulgation of human rights-compliant and people oriented legislation
METHODS/TOOLS OF OPERATION
In achieving its set objectives, TMG employs the following methods:
- Civic/political education
- Electoral work
- Research and documentation
- Information sharing
- Seminars, Workshops, and publications.
- Grassroots organizing
- Coalition building/networking
TMG has three-layer structure:
The Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is the supreme authority of the TMG. It is composed of eminent leaders of member organisations of TMG. It meets at least once in a year to provide leadership and guidance to the Group. The AGM elects the Board in every 4 years. The Chairperson of the Board is the Chairperson of AGM. In this way, it feeds into other structures of the Group. In addition, the AGM provides guidance to the Board and the Secretariat in an effective manner.
The Board of TMG is responsible for policy formation in accordance with the guidance received from the AGM. The Board approves the work of the Secretariat and meets at least twice in a year. In between, the Executive Committee (Exco) comprising three Board members: Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and the Treasurer are more directly responsible for the work of the Group.
The Secretariat is the administrative and coordinating centre of the organization. It is headed by a National Coordinator who is mandated in accordance with the aims and objectives of TMG, to manage and steer the organization to success. The National Coordinator is responsible for day-to-day management of programmes, subject to approval of the Board, and s/he is answerable to the Board.