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EU Flays Violence At Rivers By-election



European Union EU

The European Union (EU) has decried the violence that greeted the by-election into the Port Harcourt 3 constituency seat in the Rivers State House of Assembly held on August 18, 2018.

Head of the EU Delegation in Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ambassador Ketil Karlson disclosed this yesterday while speaking at the sideline of an event at the University of Port Harcourt.

The event was organised by the EU and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to boost participation among the youths in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

Karlson observed that the violence witnessed during the by-election was a matter of concern for countries in the EU.

He noted that the resolve by INEC to suspend the election based on the reports it got was an indication that the commission has made improvements under the chairmanship of Prof Mahmood Yakubu.

The EU envoy said, ‘’What happened in Port Harcourt is a matter of concern. What happened in Port Harcourt is unacceptable. The international community, and the EU is watching what is going on.”

Karlson also observed that the EU was expecting that the issues of intimidation, harassment and the buying of votes by agents of politicians would be addressed in the days ahead in order for the country to have more credible elections.

He said, “Some local INEC people in rural areas fall to the pressure of politicians who throw money around and issue threat to those who don’t fall in place. So, we have to look at the professionalism of INEC. But I have confidence that it will get better this time.

The EU Ambassador stated that the security operatives that are deployed during elections have a key role to play in ensuring that votes count and that elections were conducted in orderly manner.

“The security apparatus has a role to play in jealously guarding their political neutrality. So, everybody has a role to play including the political parties.”

In his keynote address, INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, noted that elections that don’t meet the commission’s expectations won’t stand.

Yakubu, who was represented by a national commissioner,  Prince Adedeji Solomon Soyebi said, “Any election that does not meet our guidelines will not be acceptable. We will make sure that votes count, and violence won’t determine the outcome of elections.”