From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has stoutly condemned reported covert nominations of members of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), into the decision-making structure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at all levels, alleging it was a strategy to influence the process and outcome of the 2023 general elections.
It has, therefore, urged President Muhammadu Buhari in the spirit of his administration’s commitment to anti-corruption and transparency, to withdraw the names of all political party chieftains or card-carrying members who have been nominated, and to replace them immediately with people of integrity and unquestionable character, in order to demonstrate non-partisanship in the selections and nominations.
According to a statement by TMG Chairman, Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, the group noted that while the provisions of the 1999 Constitution are clear on the compositions and major appointments into the structure of the electoral body, it was dissatisfied with the apparent partisanship and favoritism demonstrated by the nominations of party members as INEC Commissioners and State Resident Electoral Commissioners.
The statement read in part: “Some Nigerians alleged that the recent unmerited promotions and strategic deployments across the country initiated within the Commission were to upturn votes or create inconclusive situations that will be exploited by unscrupulous politicians in forcing or rigging their way into power.
“We are more concerned by the potential impact of such a major push from the Presidency on the overall credibility, transparency and integrity of the upcoming elections in 2023. Just as we condemn in totality the appointments of card-carrying members of any political party as a controlling strategy that can compromise the competence and objectivity of INEC, under which the independence and integrity of the Commission cannot be guaranteed to deliver free, fair and credible elections.
“TMG on this note calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to, in the spirit of his administration’s commitment to anti-corruption and transparency, withdraw all names of political party chieftains or card-carrying members contained in the nominations, and consider for immediate replacements, persons of integrity and unquestionable character, to demonstrate non-partisanship in the selections and nominations.
“We call on the National Assembly to reject confirmation of all nominated party chieftains and insist on transparency and non-partisanship in the selections, to uphold democratic value and electoral integrity while proving respect for the sanity and sanctity of the rule of law.
TMG also called on INEC to give detailed and verifiable positions of the nominated persons and the rationale for their selections as well as prerequisite for the recent adjustments in the Commission’s structure and compositions at all levels.
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