By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has called on the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Commission to step up its game to ensure political parties commitment to the peace agreement and pact signed for peaceful elections to prevent any forms of violence and malpractices that could trigger pre-or post -election conflicts.
The TMG maintained that Nigeria is too fragile to go into full scale conflict.
The group said this in a press statement yesterday by its Chairperson,
It called on political parties’ gladiators to desist from further heating up the polity with the numerous allegations being peddled against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, officials and security agencies over their compromise and affiliation with one political party or the other.
The TMG equally declared that the call for the removal and probe of the Always Ibom Resident Electoral Commission, REC, Mr Mike Igini and other INEC top officials few days to the general elections, on unfounded allegations, would only amount to a shady scheme to undermine the credibility of the electoral process and unnecessary meddling in the affairs of INEC by the ruling party and opposition.
The Monitoring group further called on all political parties to refrain from actions that are capable of overheating the polity as well as activities that tend to derail our fledgling democracy.
It also urged various stakeholders to be vigilant as the nation moves closer to the 2019 polls.
According to the statement,” TMG is concerned about these gladiators attempt to damage the credibility of some of the National Commissioners of INEC who over time have proven themselves as worthy ambassadors of Nigeria.
“We are more concerned in particular, about the petition submitted by the Chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC), Akwa Ibom chapter, calling for the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, for alleged partisanship and other sundry offences ahead of the general polls in the country and.
“The REC Igini has since refuted these allegations, to be clear however, these allegations deserve unfathomable scrutiny from the authorities, if Nigerians are to get a sense of closure from the terrible events of the recent past, when politicians subverted the democratic choices and aspirations of Nigerians through whimsical political gimmicks to gain electoral advantage.
“Nevertheless, the call for the removal and probe of REC Igini and other INEC top officials few days to the general elections on unfounded allegations, would only amount to a shady scheme to undermine the credibility of the electoral process and unnecessary meddling in the affairs of INEC by the ruling party and opposition.
“As we expect INEC to discharge its duty without fear or favour, we therefore call on all political parties to refrain from actions that are capable of overheating the polity as well as activities that tend to derail our fledgling democracy.
“We also urge various stakeholders to be vigilant as we move closer to the 2019 polls. TMG makes no mistake about the fact that the country will witness more of such allegations and counter-allegations from political parties as the 2019 polls approach.
“The current INEC has a reputation of having some of the fine brains in the country in their midst and this should be appreciated by all Nigerians, the postponement of the last Saturday may have affected the perception of Nigerians, we cannot but support them to deliver a credible electoral process, thus, any attempt to rupture their credibility will affect the democratic journey of this country.
“We also call for a general audit of logistic and operational processes of INEC after the elections and a panel to investigate its systems and processes to prevent future elections postponement. Nigeria’s electoral system should be experienced enough to avoid the kind of hiccups that is gradually defining our elections processes.
“It is the vigilance of the electorates and critical stakeholders that would prevent any plans to subvert and undermine the vote of the people.
“It is clear to us that the only way to prevent electoral malpractices is for all stakeholders to keep an eye of the entire electoral process, in order to protect its credibility.
“TMG calls on CSOs to build synergies, share information and massively engage the electoral process, with a view to deterring desperate political actors who may want to unnecessarily charge the polity in order to compromise the electoral process.
“We also call on Former Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar Peace Commission to step up its game to ensure political parties commitment to the peace agreement and pact signed for peaceful elections to prevent any forms of violence and malpractices that could trigger pre-or post -election conflicts, Nigeria is too fragile to go into full scale conflict.
“We therefore call on all Nigerians to maintain peace and shun violence for the sake of Nigeria,” it said.