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2015: We’re too scared of N/East -EU Monitors



The European Union International Election Observation Mission has said it would not be able to send election monitors to cover the February general elections in the north-eastern parts of the country as a result of the security danger posed by the activities of the insurgency group, Boko Haram

The Head of the EU delegation to Nigeria, Mr. Santiago Ayxela, told journalists shortly after holding a closed door meeting with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja that Mission intends to deploy 90,000 election observers to Nigeria.

He said it is possible that his delegation will also meet with the President Goodluck Jonathan this week.

Ayxela said although the Mission will not risk sending observers to the north-east, it hopes to observe all the happenings leading to the February elections, including the build-up campaigns, the election day events and post-election occurrences.

“We can’t be in the north-east for security reasons. But we have people deployed very close to the north-east and we have contacts there and so, try to get better information as much as we can have on the north-east. But the present situation does not allow us to go to the north-east,” he said.

Ayxela said the EU observer team has been involved in the monitoring of political party primaries and national conventions since November.

“First, I want to thank General Buhari for the opportunity to have this interview here. The European Election Mission is a big mission. It is a mission that started in November and will be in place till mid-April. What happened on the Election Day is not only the problem.

“It is what happened during and within a space of time, how the party primaries were done, how the law has been complied with, the propaganda, activities of the media and any possible claims after the elections. That is our role and not just to follow up the days of election.
“This is a very big country with so many inhabitants and so, it is not possible to cover everything. I can’t tell you that we will cover all the wards either for this election or for any other election.

“It is possible that we will also meet with the president. But I cannot tell when because he is the President and he is the one who will tell you the ideal moment for him to receive us.

Buhari in his remarks expressed confidence in the fairness and competence of the EU observer mission, adding that they are very much welcomed to cover the election.
“They are vast in this field and they have been covering elections in other countries even though they are not similar to our own. They are very experienced people, they are qualified to come for this supervision.

“As you observed, they cannot cover the over 120,000 polling units, but they have placed people in strategic places to advise them,” he said.

Vanguard, January 27, 2015

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