President Buhari gave the electoral body a thumb-up when he received the European Union Observer Mission (EOM) to Nigeria’s elections led by the Chief Observer and member of the European Parliament, Maria Arena, at the State House in Abuja.
The President, who said he had listened earlier in the day, to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, when he briefed the National Council of State, expressed hope that the election umpire will conduct a free and fair election come February.
“I am happy and impressed with the briefing he gave. I hope that the confidence he exuded and the intellect he brought to bear on the Report will be justified at the end of the day.” he said.
The President told the EU delegation that Nigeria had grown its electoral system incrementally, getting better, year after year.
“Having participated in elections four times in the past, I would say that since 2015, technology has helped the credibility of our elections,” he said.
Buhari said that Nigeria with over 250 cultural groups across religions and ethnic groups, with each group canvassing for identity and primacy in the affairs of the nation, “patriotism demands that we identify the nation’s best interest and go with it.”
The president appreciated the delegates for the interest they have shown in the affairs of Nigeria, particularly the Nigeria’s elections.
He stressed that the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, administration had the good sense of identifying the national interest to include security, peace and stability, improved economy, jobs creation and the campaign against corruption, noting that the party was not wrong in 2015, and is not wrong going into the election this year with the same issues in its campaigns.
The EOM team, accompanied by Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head, European Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that the EU had observed every election in Nigeria since 1999, and had come here again for the next one, following an invitation by INEC.
The delegation promised not to take sides in the dispensation of its duties.