The European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Michel Arrion has expressed satisfaction wth the preparedness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly as well as the April 11 Governorship and Houses of Assembly elections in Nigeria.
Arrion, who spoke to journalists on Tuesday, March 03, 2015, shortly after he met with the Delta state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan said the EU team has thrown its full support behind INEC to ensure the conduct of a hitch free elections in the country.
“The European Union’s support for INEC has been positive and we have a good working relationship”, adding that INEC has gotten all the required logistics it needed forbthe elections from the Federal Government including other assistance from the international community.
He disclosed that a 50-member team of long and short term observers from the European Union Election Observation Mission, led by a Chief Observer and member of the EU Parliament, Mr Santiago Fisas are presently on ground in the country and on an advocacy mission for peaceful elections.
Although he agreed that the number of EU observers in the country may not be enough, Arrion emphasised that the team would also count on the findings of local observers in terms of technical deficiencies, media coverages and other issues of national interests.
” There are various criteria to assess the credibility of an election. The EU team would collate the observations of the observers to ascertain the conduct of the elections. Twenty member States of the EU Ambassadors are in Abuja now because of the elections.”
He however emphasised on the need to further sensitize the electorate on election processes, devoid of violence, since the electoral body and the stakeholders are on record time to conduct the elections.
He also advised aggrieved persons whose rights may have been violated to always resort to seeking redress in the courts of law instead of engaging in the use of inflamatory statements which could lead to unnecessary violence.
He therefore scored INEC high in terms of efficiency, preparedness and ongoing staff training but hinged on the need for INEC to further engage its equipment in a rigorous technical test, especially the card-reader machines, which he confirmed as useful inn the forthcoming polls.
About Michel Arrion:
His Excellency Ambassador Michel Arrion is the new Ambassador/Head of Delegation of European Union (EU) to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Ambassador Arrion, a Belgian national, was previously the Head of Delegation of the EU to Rwanda. The new EU Head of Delegation brings with him to his new posting a vast experience on African and particularly West African affairs, having earlier served as Head of EU Delegation to Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.
In a career spanning over 25 years in the EU, Ambassador Arrion, a lawyer by training, has traversed the various services of the EU. He is married and has five children.
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