FCT minister Nyeosm Wike has urged the European Union to support Nigeria’s efforts to grow her economy and not interfere with the country’s internal affairs.
Mr Wike stated this when the EU ambassador to Nigeria, Samuela Isopi, visited him in his office in Abuja on Monday.
Speaking on the EU Election Observation Mission Report on the 2023 General Elections, the minister expressed his reservation on the position of the EU, which he described as “interference” with the internal affairs of Nigeria.
The minister said the EU mission’s position that the government stifled the opposition was inaccurate, considering it did not have adequate personnel to cover the whole country.
“Even though we have passed that era, I sincerely do not agree with the European Union on its stand on the past election in Nigeria. I do seriously take exception to its stand because we thought there was no need for you to interfere in Nigeria,” the ex-Rivers governor told the EU diplomat.
Mr Wike added, “Rather, you observe and make a recommendation, but your interference came when there were election petition tribunals going on. Take Rivers state, for example. I ask: How many of you were in Rivers state to visit the 6,886 – or thereabouts – polling units?
“If you saw some infractions in about 20 polling units, is that enough to make a general conclusion? I felt that as the sitting governor, you were trying to indict me for not allowing the state to have a free democratic process. And that is not the correct thing to do.”
The minister, however, stressed that the priority now should be how the EU can support Nigeria to grow her economy and create jobs to improve the lives of the citizens.
Ms Isopi explained that the report on the outcome of the elections was a product of the European Union Election Observation Mission. She added that the independent observer mission deployed by the EU was at the request of the Nigerian government.
“The purpose of the mission, and many other missions in other countries, is to assess the process of the elections in tandem with international agreements and treaties signed and ratified by Nigeria,” Ms Isopi stated. “The purpose was not to determine whether the elections were legitimate or not but to analyse the process and afterwards make recommendations. And the report offered 26 recommendations.”