RMG cautions against voting by under-aged persons, insures election observers
THE Rights Monitoring Group (RMG), a coalition of civil society organisations, is planning to provide insurance cover for thousands of its members who will serve as observers during the forthcoming general elections.
The National Co-ordinator of the group, Mr. Olufemi Aduwo, who disclosed this in Lagos, said the RMG observers have been adequately trained and programmed to give detailed account of their activities all through the period of the election. RMG, along with 87 other local and foreign organisations, has been accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to observe the general elections.
While speaking on the preparations for the forthcoming polls, Aduwo said: “Our mission during the exercise is to assess all aspects of the processes, the constitutional and legal framework. Each observer would limit his observations during the election to his specific area of coverage in order to ensure that the reports he would be filing in after the election would be detailed and faultless”.
He appealed to other accredited observers to distinguish among complaint, rumour, accusation and fact. “Only facts that they witnessed or verified on the field should be used as the basis of their reports. Our main objective as a stakeholder in the electoral management should be how to deepen democracy through free and fair election and boost public confidence in the electoral process, to deter fraud, strengthen respect for human rights, and to facilitate resolution of conflict,” he said.
He appealed to the politicians to have confidence in the Prof. Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), saying “the commission needs the cooperation of political parties and not condemnation by politicians”.
Expressing confidence that Jega would not compromise the electoral process, Aduwo said: “As INEC chairman, Jega cannot rig any election when the results would be announced at polling units. The political parties must be able to have credible and discerning people as polling agents instead of miscreants.
“The politicians who engage under-aged to vote must be prosecuted. The issue of under-aged voters has become a recurring one in some parts of the country and all the political parties have been beneficiary of this electoral fraud over the years.”