By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
Abuja — The European Union Election Observation Mission said, yesterday, that it required additional €1.8 million (N429 million) to be able to sustain its team in Nigeria as a result of the postponement of the February 14, 2015 elections in Nigeria.
The mission had initially budgeted €4.4 million (N10.5 million) for the purpose of keeping its team in the country for the February 14 and 28 polls.
The Chief Observer of the EUEOM for Nigeria, Mr. Santiago Fisas, gave the information in a media chat with a select group of editors in Abuja, yesterday, saying the mission had decided to stay back and monitor the polls despite the financial loss.
Fisas said although some of the officials had temporarily left Nigeria following the postponement of the elections, and would return in time before the new dates, the core members of the mission had stayed back in the country to monitor the processes leading to the election with a view to ensuring its success.
Fisas said despite an initial directive to its members not to monitor elections in the North-East as a result of security concerns, the members would be ready to proceed to the area for election duties if the security situation is improved.
Fisas disclosed that the mission had so far met with the presidential candidates of the parties taking part in the polls as well as the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission with a view to understanding their preparations for the elections.
The EU observer chief pointed out that the aim of the mission in Nigeria was to ensure that the elections were conducted in accordance with the constitution of Nigeria, promising not to take side with any of the parties in the contest.
He said that the European Union had through the United Nations Development Programme contributed a reasonable amount of money to support the smooth conduct of the Nigerian elections and pleaded with the stakeholders to ensure that the polls were successful and met the expectations of Nigerians.