The Nigeria’s largest citizen election observation coalition, Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, as well as Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, and the Kano State Civil Society Elections Situation Room on Saturday denied ever calling for cancellation of the March 18 governorship election in Kano state, which returned Abba Kabir Yusuf of the NNPP as the winner.
On Thursday, one Friday Maduka who identified himself as the leader of INEC-accredited observer groups, had called on INEC to review the election due to violations of the Electoral Laws and INEC guidelines for the election.
But in a joint press conference on Saturday in Kano, the CSOs denied reports making the rounds, dropping the names of credible organisations to call for the cancelation of the governorship election in Kano.
The groups assured the public that they had never, at any time, issued such statements, nor been a party to such conclusions.
“We strongly believe in democratic approaches to settling elections disputes and encourage all who are not satisfied with the process to seek redress in the court of law.
“We urge the media to filter credible civil society groups from faceless, politically sponsored groups who hide under the names of credible organisations to concoct fake stories that suit their narratives. We implore the media to desist from availing such unscrupulous groups the platform to propagate their disruptive, misleading, and fake stories,” Auwal Rafsanjani of CISLAC, said while reading the text of the press conference.
He said the CSOs also warned against illegal use of their names to spin narratives that are capable of further heating up the polity and creating chaos in Kano State and Nigeria.
“It has come to the notice of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and the Kano State Civil Society Elections Situation Room of an attempt by some people with unscrupulous intentions to sneer the integrity of credible civil society organisations that have been working hard over the years to ensure electoral integrity in Nigeria.
“For obvious selfish and politically motivated reasons, some faceless groups in conjunction with some willing elements in the media have cooked up fake stories about civil society organisations calling for cancelation of the governorship election in Kano state and other parts of the country.
“The spread of this fictitious and malicious news, in a time when the political space in Nigeria is already heated up is not only worrisome but also has the potential to further overheat the polity.
“As champions of democracy, we will not allow smear-campaigners and people with politically motivated reasons drag credible civil society organisations in Kano State and indeed, in Nigeria at large into political wars with political parties.
“While we note the widespread electoral violence and other forms of electoral malfeasance that categorized the governorship elections particularly in Kano State and other parts of the country, we stand by our earlier recommendations on the part of INEC and other stakeholders to improve the elections in Nigeria. We thereby recommend the following:
“Strengthened collaboration with the security agencies in Nigeria is critical towards ensuring electoral security in Nigeria. As part of post mortem activities of the 2023 general elections, INEC must begin to prioritize collaboration with security agencies to protect voters from political thugs in future elections.
“Justice must be served and seen to be served on those who perpetrated electoral violence in the 2023 elections, not just in Kano but in all the flashpoints across the country. As we call on the international community to sanction these offenders, Nigeria must be seen to take actions to ensure justice.
“Very importantly also, we have seen how overburdened INEC can be and call on the incoming 10th National Assembly to prioritize legislation to establish the electoral offenders tribunal/commission which will take away the burden from INEC and ensure adequate and timely prosecution of electoral offenders in Nigeria,” Mr Rafsanjani added.