As Nigeria gears up for the general elections, the European Union Election Observation Mission in Nigeria has reiterated its commitment to support credible, transparent and inclusive elections.
Chief Observer of the EU EOM to Nigeria, Barry Andrews, who stated this at a press briefing to launch the EU EOM to Nigeria 2023 on Monday in Abuja, disclosed that this is the seventh EU EOM since 1999 and the Bloc attaches great Significance to these election.
He therefore urged authorities, candidates and political parties in Nigeria to ensure that the upcoming general elections are peaceful and further election-related violence is prevented.
Andrews said: “This is the seventh presidential election in a row that the EU has partnered with Nigeria to deploy election Observation mission. So it is a tried and tested methodology, it is a tried and tested partnership and we are delighted to be back here again.
“The purpose of course is to contribute somewhere into deepening the roots of Nigerian democracy and it is no secret that we live in an age globally where democracy is under attack, where democracy is retreats and some people have describes it as democratic possession. And so, those of us who are committed to democratic norms, the rule of law have established a network of election observation mission across the world and of course Nigeria is not left out in that spirit of deepening that partnership.
“Our methodology is tried and tested, we are independent of the EU Delegation and we carry our mission based on transparency, impartiality and neutrality these are the guiding principles of election observation of the EU across the world.
“Every voter has the right to cast their ballot in a safe environment free from intimidation and undue influence. “We encourage the authorities, candidates, and political parties to commit to peaceful conduct prior to, during and after Election Day. Cooperation between all institutions and parties participating in the elections is crucial. The presence of a level playing field, freedom of expression, assembly and association, respect for human rights and a neutral and independent election management body at all levels are all essential for democratic elections”
The EU EOM is led by Chief Observer Barry Andrews, Member of the European Parliament from Ireland. A core team of 11 election analysts arrived in Abuja on 11 January to analyse the political, electoral, legal and media aspects of the entire electoral process.