Our eyes focused on vote-buying, say EU observers

Ambassador Ketil Karlsen

The European Union (EU) Election Observers have said that they would monitor today’s governorship election in Osun State with an eye on vote-buying.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ketil Karlsen, who said this at a news conference yesterday in Osogbo, the state capital, added that the EU was hopeful that the modalities put in place by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to check vote-buying during the election would yield positive results.

While commending INEC on its preparation, Karlsen said the global community would be watching the conduct of the election, being the last before next year’s general elections, noting that over 28 diplomatic observers from different countries were in the state for the election, as EU was committed to the continued consolidation of democracy in Nigeria.

“We are neutral in this election; we are not here to promote any candidate or political party. But we are here to promote the process that would lead to credible, free and fair elections in Nigeria and we hope to see a credible election.

“We are also here to see stability and continuity in Nigeria,” Karlsen said.

Also speaking, the Political Councillor, British High Commission, Mr. Dominic Williams, said today’s election would be a signal to the general elections, adding that the EU would be watching to see how the election would be conducted and its impact on the general elections.

“We want free, fair and credible elections and we want candidates to show respect for the rule of the game and shun violence.

“We also appeal to the more the 1.2 million people that have collected their Permanent Voter Cards to come out en masse to vote,” Williams said.

In his remarks, Deputy Chief of Mission, United States (US) Embassy David Young, said the US was committed to transparent and credible elections in Nigeria and the EU would continue to support the process that would promote peaceful elections.

While commending INEC for what it had done so far, Young urged the security agencies to be neutral in the election.

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