Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Worried by the violence that marred the Port Harcourt State Constituency Three Election, the Ambassador of Ireland to Nigeria, Sean Hoy, and the European Union Ambassador, Mr Ketil Karlson, have commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for suspending the Rivers State Constituency III by-election held on Saturday, August 18.
They said the action of INEC was to protect the integrity of the electoral process considering the level of violence witnessed at the election.
Both ambassadors spoke yesterday at the Government House Port Harcourt after a meeting with the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
They called on the federal government to take steps to ensure that elections are conducted within the ambits of the rule of law.
Ambassador of Ireland to Nigeria, Sean Hoy said, “we must always follow the rule of law, because election without the Rule of Law is not good. And it is not good for good governance.”
The Irish Ambassador stated that they were in Rivers State to participate in a programme organised by INEC to improve youth participation in elections.
“We emphasised that the youths must register to exercise their right to vote,” he said.
Similarly, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Ketil Karlson, declared that measures must be placed on ground by the relevant authorities to check a repeat of the electoral violence of August.
Karlson commended INEC for the action it took after the violence.
“We have commended the work of INEC . They have taken an important step and stance on the Port Harcourt State Constituency Three Election.
“Measures should be taken so that we don’t see similar events in the future elections coming up in February and March next year,” he added.
Responding, Wike said it was embarrassing that elections could not be conducted in just eight wards, saying nobody prays for a repeat of the ugly situation.
“It is so embarrassing that the police cannot secure eight wards and 142 Polling Units. What will happen when elections will be conducted in 4442 Polling Units? Violence will not help.
“I have told the international community that we want free and fair elections. Anybody who watched what happened on August 18, 2018 will know that if we had retaliated or told our people to come out, it would have been worse,” he said.