The European Union Election Observation Mission has insisted that Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai’s threat that foreigners who try to intervene in the forthcoming 2019 election will leave in “body bags” will not stop it from observing the poll.
El-Rufai had said on National Television Authority’s Tuesday Live, that Nigeria was an independent country and did need foreigners telling her what to do.
“Those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person that would come and intervene, they would go back in body bags,” the Kaduna State governor said.
But the EU monitoring group while reacting to the governor’s comment said its observation missions was to give commentary and analysis, and make recommendations about the electoral process.
“The EU only deploys an election observation mission when it is invited to do so by the authorities of a country.
The EU has been invited to observe all of the general elections in Nigeria since 1999. Thus, this is the sixth time the EU is observing elections in Nigeria.
It stated that its “observation missions are impartial, do not interfere in the electoral process, and operate according to a strict code of conduct”.
EU maintained that “while the security of EU observers is of paramount importance, and will remain under constant review, EU observers will continue their work across the country in the run-up to – and beyond – the 16 February elections.
“For the last month our team in Abuja, as well as 40 long-term observers across the country, have followed the elections.
“We’ve met with a wide range of candidates, parties, election officials, security agencies, CSOs, + have enjoyed good cooperation at federal and state levels,” the statement read.
El- Rufai’s comment is similar to that of a presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, in January who said as much as Nigeria welcomes interests and partnerships for free and fair polls, the government would not condone unfair interference in the country’s internal affairs.
Shehu was responding to statements issued by the U.S., UK and EU diplomatic mission condemning the suspension of Chief Justice Onnoghen.