CENTRE FOR CIVIC EDUCATION
(a.k.a Transition Monitoring Group – TMG)
The 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 400 member organizations committed to the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria.
The organization seeks to secure the highest standards in the administration of elections in Nigeria by ensuring that the election management body and the electorates carry out their responsibilities during elections in accordance with the Law and internationally recognized standards for free and fair elections.
It also seeks to ensure that good governance is entrenched in Nigeria through responsible leadership. To do these, it conducts civic and voter education to enlighten Nigerians about their civic/ voting rights and responsibilities, and implements a well-coordinated election monitoring program to ensure that elections are conducted under a free and fair atmosphere.
Following its pioneering efforts in educating and mobilizing Nigerians to participate in the electoral process and ensuring that the 1999 elections succeeded, the organization won the coveted “Democracy Award” given by the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in May 1999. In August 2009, TMG was given a recognition Award by the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru.
Membership of the organization is open only to civil society groups with a proven commitment to the growth and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria. From a modest beginning of just above 50 civil society organizations in 1998, TMG’s membership has grown to over 300, principally of civil society organizations with strong affiliation to people at the grassroots and spread across all states and geo-political zones of Nigeria.
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 the 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:
1. To develop integrity in the electoral process by monitoring and reporting on the prosecution of the political program
2. To observe and monitor the conduct of elections in Nigeria
3. To promote accountability, transparency and responsiveness among political leaders and in the public sector
4. To encourage and promote the participation of citizens especially of women and other marginalized or vulnerable groups in the political process
5. To assist in capacity building for member organizations
6. To provide civic education and democratic capacity building for public institutions
7. To encourage wider dissemination of voter education materials;
8. To advocate and campaign for the promulgation of human rights-compliant and people oriented legislation
To achieve its set goals and objectives, TMG carries out the following activities: civic and voter education programs, election monitoring, the publication of reports on the conduct of elections and other activities in the electoral process; conducting research, holding conferences, seminars, and training workshops.
The TMG has a working relationship with several national and international organizations including; Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), United Nations Development Program (UNDP/DGD), MacArthur Foundation, the Canadian International Agency (CIDA), Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Department for International Development (DFID), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Human Rights Commission, to name a few.
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.
METHODS/TOOLS OF OPERATION
In achieving its set objectives, TMG employs the following methods:
1. Civic/political education
• Electoral work
1. Research and documentation
2. Information sharing
3. 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.