Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nigeria: No poll observers for North-East - EU

AHEAD of next month’s presidential and general elections, the European Union, EU, yesterday, declared that its observers would not monitor elections in North East states of the country, citing insurgency in the zone as reason.
The EU made the declaration when its observers visited the headquarters of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, General Muhammadu Buhari
Speaking, yesterday, at the national secretariat of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observer Mission in Nigeria, Ambassador Santiago Fisas, said: “For security reasons, unfortunately, we can’t deploy into North East region.”
Fisas, who led members of the mission to the secretariat and were received by the PDP National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo, stressed that though the mission had been in the country since November last year to monitor the primaries of the political parties, it would not observe the general and presidential elections in the North East states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Taraba and Gombe.
He disclosed that over 90 EU observers were deployed to monitor the election in all the states of the federation but noted that the mission would not cover the North-East zone due to activities of insurgents.
“We have been here since mid-November for observations. We followed the primaries, election propaganda, media and possible claims after the election,” he said.
Fisas expressed support for the Abuja Peace Accord, adding that the EU had no favoured candidate or political party.
“We apply international rules for the election; that means we must be neutral, we don’t interfere at all as a mission. I will give you an example: it is like a football match, we are not the referee, we are just spectators,” he said.
Responding, PDP National Secretary, Professor Oladipo, assured that the PDP would not go back on the peace accord, in spite of recent attacks on its campaign train by suspected supporters of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
He said: “On the Abuja Accord PDP stand. Only yesterday there was a meeting of National Peace Committee that was set up by eminent Nigerians and the party attended the meeting and we resolved that the Abuja Accord is good for this country, it is good for our future, it’s good for our economy, good for our image and good for our well-being.”
At a meeting with the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, General Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja, also yesterday, Fisas reiterated that the mission would deploy 90 observers to monitor the election across the country.

-The Vanguard(NG)

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