The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Laurent Fabius, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to defend Nigeria and Africa’s image by conducting credible polls in 2015.
The minister made the call in Abuja on Monday when he and his German counterpart, Dr. Frank Seinmeier, led a delegation to a courtesy visit on the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
Fabius said the delegation visited the commission because of INEC’s responsibility to conduct credible elections by 2015.
“We congratulate your institution for the way you handled general elections in 2011 and more recently the current elections.
“Now that new elections are coming next year, the challenge is tremendous. You have great responsibility towards Nigeria. The image of Nigeria is at stake and the image of Africa as well.
“We have no doubt that this election will be free, fair and transparent.
“European Union (EU) will contribute to it, financially and will also dispatch EU observation mission”, Fabius was quoted as saying during the visit.
He said the delegation was interested in knowing the level of INEC’s preparedness in confronting the security challenges because of the current situation, particularly in the North-East.
“We are here to tell you that we have great confidence in what you are going and what you will do”, he said.
Also in his address, Seinmeier, tasked Nigeria to increase its efforts on ending insurgency ahead of the 2015 elections.
“You know that the elections you are preparing for are taking place under difficult conditions, fighting two enemies at a time.
“First of all, it was even until last week we were commenting on your effort and the success fighting Ebola.
“The second enemy we were talking about this morning during breakfast meeting with different religious organisations is the Boko Haram sect.
“Therefore we know that the fight against Boko Haram is not yet enough successful as over 200 girls are still kidnapped and not yet released”, he said.
In his response, the INEC boss told the European Union representatives that the commission was aware of the enormous responsibility placed on its shoulders and would not disappoint.
“We will contribute to deepening democracy in our country. We are taking this responsibility with the seriousness that it deserves and we feel confident, giving what we have been able to do since the 2011 general elections that we will deliver free, fair and credible election in 2015”, Jega assured.