EU ambassador says the controversial elections does not predict 2015
The Ambassador and head of delegation of the European Union to Nigeria, Michel Arrion, on Monday in Abuja said that the recently concluded Anambra gubernatorial election could not be used to determine what would happen in the 2015 general elections.
Comparing the past Anambra election with the forthcoming presidential election in 2015, Mr. Arrion said that a one state sample was not enough to draw conclusion of what was expected in the 2015 presidential election.
“I’m not sure we can draw global lessons from what we saw in Anambra. The good and the bad things that we saw in Anambra do not necessarily reflect what will happen in the entire country in 2015. I am not sure that the sample is representative of the whole country,” Mr. Arrion said.
He said the good thing was that the gubernatorial election in Anambra was devoid of real violence as majority of the country’s security forces were concentrated in the state.
A supplementary gubernatorial election was held in Anambra on November 30, following an inconclusive election on November 16. According to the Returning Officer, James Epoke, no candidate polled the statutory 25 per cent of votes in two-third of the 21 local government areas in the state in the November 16 poll. Willie Obiano eventually won the election and was declared governor elect by INEC.
Mr. Arrion said the election was a reminder to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to improve on the conduct of elections in the future. He also admonished citizens and political parties to take responsibilities and work towards investing in the forthcoming presidential election in 2015 to avoid a reoccurrence of the activities of the past election.
“We have seen in many polling stations that the political parties were absent; the political parties must invest. It is not an election of INEC, it is everybody in Nigeria. We should really invest in the presidential election of 2015 and we expect more involvement,” he said
He was also of the view that Nigerians must address its economic governance to experience a notable development process in the country.
“Nigeria will not develop with the aid from outside; it will be developed with its own resources. Development of countries never come from outside, it is for the Nigerian people to take up its problem and address the problem of economic governance,” he said
On insecurity in Nigeria, Mr. Arrion said since the EU had no army and knew the importance of peace and security; it supported the office of the National Security Adviser and also tried to have a better understanding of the regional security differences faced across the country.
“There is no European army. We are trained to create a kind of European defence policy where we could harmonise the way the armies work together; the way of defence procurement are organised and other issues,” he said.
He also noted that through strategic orientation, the union was fully engaged in security issues by supporting communities affected, nongovernmental organisations and civil societies working on rehabilitation or reconciliation processes.
Nigeria has been on a regular dialogue with the EU since 2008 based on common interests and challenges. The dialogue has focused on the exchange of ideas critical to peace, stability, development and good governance in Nigeria.
These includes an EU- Niger Delta support programme which aims to mitigate conflict in the Niger Delta by addressing the main causes of unrest and violence in the region; a support for the Nigerian Electoral Cycle 2012-2015 involving the contribution of 20 million Euros (N4.3 billion) by the union as part of a multi – donor trust fund managed by United Nations Development Programmes; a 35 million Euros (N7.6 billion) support to anti- corruption in Nigeria, a project implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime with Department for International Development, DFID, UNDP and Canadian international Development Agency as funding partners; among others.