The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Iyorchia Ayu, has called on the European Union to send a high-level and large-sized observer mission to Nigeria to monitor the 2023 general election.
Dr Ayu spoke while receiving the European Union Election Exploratory Mission to Nigeria, led by Mrs Mette Bakken, at the PDP National Headquarters in Abuja.
The PDP National Chairman warned against any attempt to compromise the integrity of the 2023 polls, emphasizing that the nation’s major opposition party does not want to be short-changed.
The National Chairman said: “We are prepared as a party to do the needful as far as the 2023 general elections are concerned. But we are worried about the tendency and capacity of the State to manipulate the critical technologies to our disadvantage. We need to pay close attention so that we are not short-changed again”.
“We appreciate the efforts of the EU and thank the Observer Missions for their continued interest in the democratization process in Nigeria which is close to 25 years. We want the world to know that what is happening in Nigeria is democratic, transparent and credible.”
He said, “So, it is impossible to suppress freedom of expression in Nigeria.” The freedom is still open. What the government in power is doing is denying us access to public spaces to hold our rallies. Even our convention, we had to navigate and put pressure before we got a venue here in Abuja. That must stop.”
“There are security challenges in some states, I think six or so states. We hope government will stamp out the insecurity there early enough for elections to be held there with transparent outcomes. We will no longer accept questionable harvests of votes from inaccessible areas”. He stated.
Leader of the Mission, Mrs Mette Bakken, said the EU Mission was in Nigeria to interface with relevant government bodies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs); and, in line with the EU Methodology, look at the possibility of deploying EU Observer Mission for the scheduled 2023 general elections.
Other members of the EU Delegation included Frederick Schumman and Kairi Kasmann, both of the European Commission for Foreign Policy Instrument.
Members of the Exploratory Mission, who arrived Nigeria on 10th October, 2022 will be on ground till 25th October, 2022.
Writing by Victorson Agbenson; Editing by Chinasa Ossai & Julian Osamoto