By Ochiaka Ugwu
Observers from the Missions of the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States have strongly disapproved the widespread incidents of interference and intimidation of voters, journalists, and civil society observers by some political party supporters and security agencies.
In a joint press statement released by the Information Office of the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy of the United States of America in Abuja, the joint EU, UK, US observers team noted that the exercise was marred by intimidation and interference by security agencies.
According to the statement, “Delegations from the Missions of the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States observed the voting in the Osun State re-run election on September 27.
“We once again commend the vast majority of the voters in the state for exercising their democratic rights peacefully.
“In contrast to our overall findings on the vote of September 22, we were concerned to witness widespread incidents of interference and intimidation of voters, journalists, and civil society observers by some political party supporters and security agencies.
“Many of our findings mirror those of leading civil society groups that observed the election.
“We commend the work of INEC leadership during both elections. But it is clear that the neutrality of the security services and responsible conduct by party agents, both inside and outside polling units, will be essential to ensure free, fair, credible and peaceful elections in 2019.
“We continue to call for calm from all stakeholders and urge that any challenges to the election result be made through peaceful and lawful means.
“We restate our position of firm neutrality among all parties and candidates. We remain committed to supporting the Nigerian people in seeing free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections” the statement concluded.