Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt
THE European Union on Monday condemned the violence that marred the bye-election for Port Harcourt Constituency 3, describing the outcome of the exercise as unacceptable.
Head of the EU delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States, Ketil Karlson, also hailed the Independent National Electoral Commission for suspending the bye-election.
He spoke at the University of Port Harcourt, venue of an event tagged ‘Youths Votes Count Campus Outreach’ organised by the EU and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Kalson pointed out that the suspension of the Rivers bye-election was an indication that INEC had improved under the leadership of Professor Mahmood Yakubu in the conduct of elections.
He, however, explained that issues bordering on pressure on INEC officials by some politicians, vote buying and intimidation of voters would soon be addressed by the EU.
Karlson pointed out that the event at UNIPORT was aimed at ensuring that youths participated fully in the 2019 election and also to ensure that the exercise was free, fair and credible.
He explained that security agents must work towards ensuring a violent-free polls and embrace political neutrality.
“What happened in Port Harcourt is a matter of concern; what happened in Port Harcourt is unacceptable. The international community and the EU are watching what is going on.
“The security apparatus has a role to play in jealously guarding their political neutrality. So, everybody has a role to play, including the political parties.
“Although there had been improvement on the part of INEC, it is not everything that will be eradicated at once. But it will get better,” he added.