By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, told the European Union Observer Mission, EOM, to Nigeria’s elections that Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will deliver credible elections.
The President said he was impressed by the preparations made by the INEC for the general election starting from February 16, expressing optimism that the electoral body would deliver on its mandate of a credible poll.
Receiving the EOM, led by the Chief Observer and member of the European Parliament, Maria Arena, at the State House, Abuja, the President said he had listened earlier in the day to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, when he briefed the National Council of State.
“I am happy and impressed with the briefing he gave. I hope that the confidence he exuded and the intellect he brought to bear on the report will be justified at the end of the day,’’ the President said.
The President, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, told the EU delegation that Nigeria had grown its electoral system incrementally, getting better year after year.
“Having participated in elections four times in the past, I would say that since 2015, technology has helped the credibility of our elections,” he said.
President Buhari noted that Nigeria with over 250 cultural groups across religions and ethnic groups, with each group canvassing for identity and primacy in the affairs of the nation, demands the patriotism of all Nigerians, with a view to identifying and projecting its interest.
He stressed that the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, administration had the good sense of identifying the national interest to include security, peace and stability, improved economy, job creation and the campaign against corruption, noting that the party was not wrong in 2015, and was not also wrong going into the election this year with the same issues in its campaigns.
The President thanked the delegation for taking interest in Nigeria’s elections, and in the affairs of the nation generally.
The EOM team, accompanied by Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head, European Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the EU had observed every election in Nigeria since 1999, and had come again for the next one, following an invitation by INEC.
The delegation promised impartiality and neutrality in the monitoring of the elections.