The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Iyorchia Ayu has expressed misgivings over the neutrality of the security agencies in the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
Ayu expressed the party’s concern, when he received the European Union (EU) Election Observation Follow-up Mission, led by the Chief Missioner, Maria Arena, at the PDP headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.
The Chairman of the major opposition party who commended the mission on its recommendations on the 2019 General Elections, stressed that their observation across the country should be based on helping not only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but also the security agencies to do their job.
He alleged that “security agencies that are supposed to be independent to help see credible elections, subvert the electoral process. So we have serious apprehensions, particularly in those areas where details will be made available.
Ayu said “We have consistently worked hard as a broad-based political party, mobilised people, not just to canvass for votes, but to ensure that we defend the votes against any anti-democratic tendencies.
“It is on note that in spite of willingly handing over to the current ruling party in 2015, we have seen a decline in those values which we promoted as a political party, including the establishment and creation of certain institutions that were meant to strengthen democracy in this country.
“Therefore, we are very worried that instead of strengthening the democratic process to serve the people of this country, we are seeing a sustained decline in those democratic processes.
“Conduct of elections, use of security services to attack judges and other citizens, instead of protecting them and to preserve the electoral process.
PDP National Chairman also stressed the need for the electoral umpire to be genuinely independent and not one to be manipulated.
Ayu urged the EU election observer team to take special interest in the upcoming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states scheduled to hold in June and July respectively.
He said PDP’s recent performance across the country shows that Nigerians are determined to promote, mobilise and ensure they win to rescue and rebuild Nigeria.
Earlier, the EU-EOM Chief Missioner, Maria Arena, said the visit to the PDP leadership was part of a follow-up process to assess how its 2019 recommendations have been taken on board by different authorities in Nigeria.
She disclosed that delegates had already held similar interactions with civil society organisations, the media, the government and other political parties.
According to her, the delegation would meet with as many stakeholders as possible.
Other members of the delegation were Alexandre Borges Gommes, Mette Bakken, Hannah Roberts, Denis Pitit, Paulo Barroso Simons and Osaro Odemwingie.