Posted by Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Adedayo Akinwale, Abuja | 25 October 2018 | 770 times
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, wednesday expressed grave concerns over the disposition of the federal government to opposition politicians, saying unfolding events showed a high level of intolerance that has left opposing parties’ candidates fearing for their lives.
The leading opposition party’s presidential flag bearer’s view were expressed through his running mate, Mr. Peter Obi, during separate meetings with delegations of the European Union (EU) and the World Economic Forum, who are engaging with stakeholders in the country’s electoral process.
Atiku’s concerns were amplified by his party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, who told the EU that recent experiences of the PDP, particularly during the Osun State governorship election, held last month, showed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) could no longer be trusted to deliver free and fair elections unless it is purged of some of its senior officials that it believed were working for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to a statement by his campaign organisation, he said there was need for agencies like the EU to strengthen and support the INEC to resist the overbearing pressure from the ruling party.
Atiku said that judging from what happened during gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun States, INEC needed to show that it remained an unbiased umpire in future elections in the country.
He said the EU should insist on a level playing field for all candidates and parties during elections in Nigeria, adding, “There is a need to get the country back to its feet and make it better for our children.’’
The former vice president stressed that campaigns should be based on issues so that the electorate and the international community can come to grasp with the problems of the country as well as the solutions being proffered by each of the political parties and their candidates.
Earlier, the head of the EU delegation, Mr. Ketil Karlsen, said that the election observer group had been consulting stakeholders in Nigeria to ascertain whether or not it would be necessary for the union to send a new EU election observer mission.
He said the EU mission had been operating in Nigeria since 1999 and that the union had invested over 100 million Euros in Nigeria’s election process since then.
Speaking at the meeting with officials of WEF, Atiku emphasised the need for closer working relationship with African countries, especially Nigeria, because most governments in the continent do not want to work with the forum for fear of being criticised.
•Excerpted from THISDAY report
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