The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) on Wednesday called on all the aggrieved or dissatisfied parties not to boycott the Osun State supplementary elections, but should instead “put up a brave fight to the finish line.”
The organisation also warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that its officials with questionable characters do not participate in the supplementary governorship elections in Osun State.
The TMG said while it could independently verify the acknowledged lapses and irregularities observed during the inconclusive election, the claims and counter claims cannot be completely discountenanced as they serve to deepen knowledge of electoral process in Nigeria.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is among some of the political parties which were aggrieved over the declaration by INEC that the election was inconclusive.
A statement by the chairperson of the Board of TMG and Executive Director of Women’s Advocates Rights and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, recalled that the September 22 2018 governorship election in Osun state had continued to dominate the political space following the declaration by INEC that the exercise was inconclusive.
Akiyode-Afolabi said the declaration became necessary due to serious lapses and acknowledged irregularities by the ad hoc staff of INEC which affected seven polling units in four Local Government Areas for which the commission scheduled a supplementary election.
She said, “INEC must see to it that (its) officials with questionable characters are not part of the supplementary election, materials delivered on time, and no willing voter wilfully disenfranchised in the affected polling units.
“However, TMG strongly advise all sides to avoid utterances that are capable of heating up the polity and breaking the fragile peace in Osun State. For the sake of our budding democracy, TMG calls on all aggrieved or dissatisfied parties to not boycott the supplementary elections, but instead, put up a brave fight to the finish line.
“TMG calls on the good people of Osun State in particular and Nigerians in general to keep hope alive, and not to despair. We encourage citizens not to lose faith in the electoral process but to come out massively and vote to complete the exercise they passionately commenced on September 22 2018.
“TMG commends the people of Osun for the peaceful conduct of the election of Saturday September 22 2018. Accordingly, TMG is calling on all stakeholders to maintain the peace during the supplementary election.
“As we go into this crucial election, it is important that the election takes place without any form of violence, intimation or harassment and it is equally important that the political class allow voters to freely exercise their franchise without coercion or pressure.
“The security must ensure that no detractors are allowed to destabilize or disrupt the process. The police and her sister agencies must remain vigilant and alive to their responsibilities. The police and other security agencies must also understand that their responsibility and ultimate loyalty is to the people and not to any self-serving politician. They must therefore carry out their responsibilities in the most civil, orderly and responsible manner.
“As part of its mandate, the TMG will deploy observers to the affected polling units to keep an eye on the process. Voters and political parties should have confidence that the process is being observed independently to ensure it is free, fair and credible.”