Barely three weeks to the February general elections, the European Union (EU) yesterday said it would deploy 90 observers to monitor the elections across the country but would not deploy any observer to the north-east due to the insurgency problem.
The EU Chief election observer, Mr. Santiago Fisas,disclosed this Monday when he visited the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, General Mohammadu Buhari.
He told General Buhari that the mission would deploy 90 observers to monitor the election across the country except the North-east states because of insecurity in the region.
Santiago said the first batch of 30 observers were presently in the country, adding that the second group will arrive Nigeria by February 7th, while the last would arrive before the election.
The chief observer revealed that the coming election in Nigeria is very important to the EU just as as it is to Nigeria, adding that whatever happens in Nigeria will affect the whole of Africa and European Union as well.
Addressing journalists after a closed door meeting with General Buhari, Santiago said: “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 their marines 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.”
While speaking on the reason why the mission will not be at the North-east region, he said: “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.”
Also speaking on the meeting, General Mohammadu Buhari, who described the EU observers as experienced people who have been covering other countries elections, also said, “They are qualified to come for this elections and as you observed they cannot cover all the 120,000 polling units but, they will place people in strategic places to advise them.
At a meeting of the EU with the leadership of the PDP,the party National Secretary, Prof Wale Oladipo declared the party will not go back on the peace accord despite the recent attacks on its campaign train by suspected supporters of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
“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, is good for our economy, it is good for our image and it is good for our wellbeing” he said.
On the attacks on PDP campaign vehicles, Prof Oladipo said: “If you say our vehicle was burnt, well, that is condemnable. On the part of PDP I am assuring you that we stand by the Abuja Accord and we shall continue to observe and respect all the agreements reached.
“We have a unique responsibility as the party in power. The stability of the country, the progress of the country, the image of the country, we have a duty to protect it and we shall continue to do that as a political party,” he said.