THE Head of the European Union delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West Africa States, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, has said that the mission of the EU delegation to Nigeria is not to select a leader for the country in the February 16, elections.
He made the comment, weekend in Yenagoa, during a courtesy visit to the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon Seriake Dickson. Karlsen who stressed that the EU did not have any political aspiration in the country noted that the body was only committed to the conduct of free and fair elections in Nigeria.
The EU Ambassador said that 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. Ambassador Karlsen charged Nigerians, especially the youths, to contribute to the achievement of the desired free, fair and credible elections.
His words: “We are visiting at this important moment ahead of the Presidential elections 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 have a free, fair and 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 can 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.”
Responding, Governor 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. He, however, expressed concern over the conduct of security agencies in the forthcoming elections. Dickson assured that Bayelsa was committed to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections and would not act in any way that could compromise the integrity of the electoral process. The governor, who stressed that Nigeria was faced with a defining moment in its democratic experience, commended friendly nations for their positions on critical developments in the country. According to him, the international community acted right to remind the country of its responsibility and duties to do what is right, fair and internationally acceptable, as a responsible member of the committee of nations.