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2023: EU meets with parties, seeks credible polls

Ahead of the 2023 General Elections, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM) has called for free, fair and credible elections. The leader of the…

Ahead of the 2023 General Elections, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM) has called for free, fair and credible elections.

The leader of the delegation and member of the European Parliament and Chief Observer, Ms. Marie Arena, made the call on Friday in Abuja, when she led a team to meet with the nation’s registered political parties, under the aegis of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC).

She said that the EU-EOM in 2019 told the IPAC leadership that the Report of its findings of the 2019 elections has been submitted to relevant stakeholders.

She also said that the report has 30 recommendations on how to improve Nigeria’s electoral process in subsequent elections.

She said the group would like to see more of women inclusion in the political activities and governance in the country.

Responding, the IPAC National Chairman, Engr. Yabagi Yusuf Sani, said that Nigerian may not have deepen democracy and continuous improvement without the support of the EU.

He said that the EU Parliament had done a great job by ensuring good governance and regional stability through the enthronement of an enduring democratic system.

He said with the coming up on stream of the amended Electoral Act, political parties are now more than before, expected to use ICT and related technology in their internal affairs and interaction with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He urged the delegation to assist the political parties with computer hardware as well as human capacity training in the use and application of ICT.

“There is no question about the fact that, the story of democracy in Nigeria would not have flowered and blossomed the way it has done in the past twenty-two years without the intervention and support from the EU Parliament, governments and democracy-centered groups as well as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), in Europe and other advanced democracies around the globe.

“The IPAC is a platform established in 2012 with the goal of enhancing and deepening the roots of democracy in Nigeria through the promotion of harmony between all the political parties and between the three organs of government, that is, the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary,” Sani said.

The IPAC boss said that even as Nigeria has experienced 22 years of an unbroken representative governance, not a few observers are still apprehensive that, given all the perceptible signals and indices, the 2023 elections might turn out to pose serious challenges to IPAC and other democracy watchdogs and interests in the task of entrenching democracy and safeguarding peace, security and stability of the country.

He said that this apprehension is against the backdrop of the fact that, at the dawn of another round of election season and electioneering campaigns, a number of the political gladiators, rather than harping on development and well-being of citizens, are beaten the drums of ethnicity, regionalism and other primordial fault lines in their quest for political power.

“This negative scenario is further compounded by the unprecedented wave of insecurity posed by insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and irredentist agitations across the length and breathe of the country. Indeed, Nigeria can be appropriately said to be at a cross-road at this moment of its history as a nation state,” he said.