The European Union has dispelled media claims of perceived interference in the ongoing electoral process ahead of the February 16 presidential election. Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West Africa States, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, made the clarification on Saturday during a courtesy visit to Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, in Government House, Yenagoa.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor of Bayelsa on Media, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, quoted Karlsen as saying the mission of the EU delegation to Nigeria was not to select a leader for the country in the February 16, elections. The EU ambassador added that Nigeria with the outcome of the 2015 election sent a strong message to the international community that it is possible to have elections with acceptable results.
“We are visiting at this important moment ahead of the presidential elections and of course the state elections in so many parts of Nigeria to express to you the governor, and your team the importance that we attach to having a free, fair and credible, peaceful and transparent elections in Nigeria.
“We are strong believers in the consolidation of democracy as the best if not the only way to continue stability and development and creation of opportunities for ordinary Nigerians.
”And that is why we reiterate again and again that for the EU and the international community at large, we are not here to select the leadership of Nigeria. That cannot be and should not be our aspiration.
“Our only desire is to see to a fair process of the election in this country because that is what is providing that legitimacy of the democratically- elected government, whether at the federal or state level.
"And Nigeria demonstrated wonderfully in the last election in 2015 how the outcome of a democratic election can prevail. That message was very powerful within Nigeria but it resonated far, far beyond the borders of Nigeria, to West Africa and to the world.”