EU observers shun North-East over insurgency
LESS than three weeks to the general elections, the European Union (EU) said it would not send its election observers to the North-East states because of the security challenges in the zone.
This is even as the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) insisted that it stands by the peace accord signed by the 14 presidential candidates and their parties in Abuja on the general elections.
Speaking when he led members of the mission to visit the PDP leadership at the party’s national secretariat on Monday in Abuja, Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observer Mission in Nigeria, Ambassador Santiago Fisas disclosed that over 90 election observers were deployed by EU to monitor the forthcoming election in all the states.
He further revealed that EU Election Observer Mission has “been here since mid-November for observations. We followed the primaries, election propaganda, media and possible claims after the election.”
Fisas said though they were sent to monitor the forthcoming election in all the states, they would not cover the North-East because of the activities of insurgents in the zone.
According to him, “for security reasons, unfortunately, we can’t deploy into North-East region.”
Fisas further said that though the number of EU election observers in the country is minimal, they are the best in terms of quality.
He expressed support for the Abuja Peace Accord, but emphasised that the EU has no favoured candidates 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 march, we are not the referee, we are just spectators,” Fisas said.
Earlier, the PDP National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, declared that the party stands by the peace accord despite the recent attacks on its campaign train by suspected supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“PDP stands on the Abuja Accord. 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 is good for our economy, it is good for our image and it is good for our wellbeing,” he said.