BY Samad Uthman
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has expressed worry over the extension of the deadline for the conduct of primary elections and the submission of nomination lists by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC on Friday announced the extension of the deadline by six days, from June 3 to 9,
Following the announcement, the All Progressives Congress (APC) postponed its presidential primary election earlier scheduled for May 29-30 to June 6-8.
Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, chairman of the group, in a statement on Saturday, said INEC’s decision is coming at a time when Nigerians are beginning to have confidence in the electoral umpire, adding that “some powerful forces are trying to undermine and pressurise it to doing their biddings”.
“A lot of political parties have made efforts in conducting their primaries and if the ruling party is still uncertain about the day to conduct its presidential primary elections that shouldn’t be the basis for the extension,” he said.
The group also condemned the vote-buying incidents in the party primaries across the country, saying “any financial inducements on delegates were tantamount to the mortgaging of the country’s future.”
“We are appalled by the incidents of vote-buying and sundry financial inducements on the delegates in the ongoing political party primaries across the country,” it said.
“Delegates should note that they don’t have to go to the extent of mortgaging Nigeria’s future on the altar of ephemeral financial gratifications. They should think of Nigeria first before any other considerations.
“Our observers reported that aspirants’ agents were largely involved in coordinating vote-buying for various persons seeking political offices, which is unfortunate.
“It should be noted that the influence of money in an election has far-reaching implications in Nigerian politics because any politician that spends to be voted for will surely work towards recouping the money at the end of the day, and it is still the voters that will be at the receiving end.
“As the country is witnessing various economic challenges it is worrisome to see that the amount of money that is exchanging hands in this period has led to the sky-rocketing of the Naira, it is at its all-time high of N610 to a dollar in the country.”