All great nations that have made progress in transforming the fortunes of their people understand the importance of ensuring democracy, good governance and electoral accountability abiding article of faith in collective national development.
Though our existence as politically independent nation has not transformed to major achievement in terms of infrastructure development and the over all process of governance, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) felicitates with Nigerians and congratulates Nigeria on this occasion of her 61st Independence anniversary.
Studying the political environment as a group has given us deep insights into the major issues in the electoral process, particularly as 2023 general election approaches. One of the most worrisome of these is political accountability and electoral transparency that have characterized the process.
Knowing that Nigeria is the graveyard of promises, especially from politicians, we demand an immediate fulfillment of all promises made by the government of bringing succour and dividend of democracy to the citizens’ door steps.
TMG cautions that as the National Assembly Harmonization Committee of the the two chambers of the National Assembly sets for its conference on the harmonization of the electoral bill, the expectation is that the Committee will tow an acceptable and less divisive path in expediting action on the reformed Bill after seeing the opprobrium the controversy that followed the harmonized version of the electoral Bill had generated earlier in the country.
It is ironic that some elements in their desperation for power are doing everything possible to subvert the people’s will. As a group, we insist in tandem with Article 21 of United Nations Declaration on Human Rights and other extant domestic laws that the will of the people remains the basis of the authority of any government. TMG is therefore compelled to react to this unsavoury development in the polity, particularly the way and manner the legislative arm of government is handling the reform process in the country.
In the light of the above, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) therefore demands that the Harmonization Committee adopts as follows:
• Adopts the Senate version of Clause 43, which recognizes “voting devices” alongside election materials.
• Adopt the Senate version of Clause 49, which recognizes “other technological devices” alongside “Smart Card Readers” for voter accreditation.
• Adopt the House of Representatives Version of Clause 52, which gives INEC the power to determine the procedure for voting and transmission of election results.
• Adopt the Senate Version of Clauses 63 and 76 which increases the penalty for sanctioning a presiding officer who contravenes the Electoral Act concerning the proper counting of accounting for votes and the announcement of results.
• Adopt the Senate version of clause 87, which gives political parties the option to adopt either direct or indirect primaries.
The unpatriotic role played by some members in the rigmarole on the harmonization of the Bill is not lost on well meaning Nigerians. We therefore deem it necessary to warn the government against further push back on the reforms. It will be a big dent on the credibility of a government trying to shore up its image deficit on the account of numerous recent malfeasance as observed in the country .
However, without throwing away the baby with bathe water, we congratulate the President and all those deserving Nigerians a happy independence celebrations.
Long live Nigeria!
Comrade Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)