The Head of the European Union delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West Africa States, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, has said the mission of the EU delegation to Nigeria is not to select a leader for the country in the February 16 presidential election.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor of Bayelsa State on Media, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, quoted Karlsen as having made the comment during a courtesy visit to Governor Henry Seriake Dickson at the Government House, Yenagoa, last Friday.
Karlsen, who stressed that the EU does not have any political aspiration in the country, stressed that the body was only committed to the conduct of free and fair elections in the country.
The EU Ambassador said Nigeria sent a strong message to the international community with the outcome of the 2015 general elections that it was possible to have elections with acceptable results.
According to him, it was the interest of the EU to support the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria as part of the efforts to secure the stability, development and creation of opportunities for its ordinary citizens. Karlsen charged Nigerians, especially the youths, to contribute to the achievement of the desired free, fair and credible elections.
“We are visiting at this important moment ahead of the presidential election and of course the state elections in so many parts of Nigeria to express to you, the Governor and your team, the importance that we attach to having a free, fair, credible, peaceful and transparent elections in Nigeria.
“We are strong believers in the consolidation of democracy as the best if not the only way to continue stability and development and creation of opportunities for ordinary Nigerians. And that is why we reiterate again and again that for the EU and the international community at large, we are not here to select the leadership of Nigeria. That cannot be and should not be our aspiration.
“Our only desire is to see to a fair process of the election in this country because that is what is providing that legitimacy of the democratically elected government, whether at the federal or state level. And Nigeria demonstrated wonderfully in the last election in 2015 how the outcome of a democratic election could prevail. That message was very powerful within Nigeria but it resonated far, far beyond the borders of Nigeria, to West Africa and to the world,” Karlsen said.
Responding, Dickson commended the EU and its partner agencies for embarking on various projects that support and promote the course of development and stability in communities, disclosing that Bayelsa has been a beneficiary of such projects.