By Dirisu Yakubu, Abuja
The international community wants Nigeria to conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2023, the European Union, EU, election observation mission, has said.
Chief of the group, Maria Arena, in Abuja, yesterday, when she led a delegation to visit Senator Iyorchia Ayu, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, noted that following the conduct of the 2019 elections, the group submitted a report of its findings to relevant stakeholders with 30 recommendations on how to improve the electoral process in subsequent elections.
She added that the delegation was at the PDP headquarters to ascertain the level of preparations for 2023 polls alongside how the party has fared in the implementation of the recommendations.
She said: “I was the chief observer for the 2019 election. As you know, we made a report with 30 recommendations and this follow up mission, we want to assess how these recommendations have been taken on board by different authorities in the country. It is important to meet with all the stakeholders.
“We have met with civil society, media, the government and the political parties. It is important because you are playing a very important role in the electoral process. And so for us, it is important to listen to you about the main concern that you have concerning free elections in the country.
“Your view is important for our final report and we do hope the elections would be credible.”
Responding on behalf of the National Working Committee, NWC, Ayu thanked the EU delegation for the visit, and reminded them that the PDP was formed in 1998 to act as opposition to dictatorship.
He said: “We are a party that believes firmly in democracy, including the processes. It is not just the votes that we believe should count, we believe also that we should be seen to be doing what we say. So, we have consistently worked hard as a broad based political party to mobilize people, not just to canvass for votes, but to vote for the party and to ensure that they defend the votes against any anti democratic tendencies.
“It is on that note that we willingly handed over power in 2015 when we lost. But since then, we have seen a decline in democratic values and ethos. “