Tony John, Port Harcourt
Ambassador of Ireland to Nigeria, Sean Hoy, has called on the Federal Government to take steps to ensure that elections are conducted within the ambit of the rule of law, having felt worried by the violence that marred the Port Harcourt City Constituency III election.
Similarly, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ketil Karlson, has declared that measures must be placed on ground by the relevant authorities to check a repeat of the electoral violence on August 18, 2018, at the Port Harcourt City Constituency 3 polls.
Both ambassadors spoke, on Monday, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, after a meeting with Governor Nyesom Wike.
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According to the Irish envoy, “We must always follow the rule of law, because election without the rule of law is not good. And it is not good for good governance”.
The Irish Ambassador noted that they were in Rivers to participate in a programme organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve youth participation in elections.
He said, “We emphasised that the youths must register to exercise their right to vote.”
Also, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Karlson, commended INEC for the action it took after the violence during the recent by-election in Port Harcourt.
He stated: “We have commended the work of INEC. They have taken an important step and stance on the Port Harcourt State Constituency 3 election.
“Measures should be taken so that we don’t see similar events in the future elections coming up in February and March next year”, the European Union ambassador said.
He expressed concern about the violence during the by-election.
Responding, Governor Wike said it was embarrassing that elections could not be conducted in just eight wards, saying nobody prays for a repeat of the ugly situation.
He said, “It is so embarrassing that the police cannot secure eight wards and 142 polling units. What will happen when elections will be conducted in 4,442 polling units. Violence will not help.
“I have told the international community that we want free and fair elections. Anybody, who watched what happened on August 18, 2018, will know that, if we had retaliated or told our people to come out, it would have been worse”, Wike said.
He stated that the entire world saw the purveyors of violence, saying that Nigerians knew the real promoters of violence.
“We said, let the system play put, so that we know what they intend to do in 2019. For us as a government and as a people, we will continue to support free and fair elections”, he maintained.
He, however, urged the international community to prevail on the security agencies to promote the enabling environment for credible elections, noting that only credible polls will enhance the interest of the people.