Ekiti poll will determine 2019 general elections, say EU, UK, US

Kamarudeen Ogundele, Ado Ekiti

The European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have said the Ekiti governorship election is a pointer to the 2019 general elections in Nigeria.

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They also condemned vote buying, describing it as illegal.

The international communities said they would watch with keen interest how the election would turn out.

At a joint press briefing in Ado Ekiti on Friday, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Kalsen, said the union was committed to achieving consolidation of democracy in Nigeria.

He said, “The Ekiti election will be a litmus test to the upcoming elections in 2019. All we want is a free, fair, credible and peaceful conduct before, during and beyond the election.

“We say no to hate speech and intimidation. People should have the free will to choose who will be their leaders.”

Kalsen said the Independent National Electoral Commission had been on the right track, advising the security agencies to play their role well.

He said, “It is important voters go out and vote freely for their preferred candidate.

“Tomorrow will signal to the entire world that Ekiti will show the way for a free, fair, credible and peaceful election for the February and March 2019 general elections.”

Also speaking, the UK High Commissioner, Paul Arkwright, said the eyes of the world were “on this election.”

The US Consul General, John Bray, said much greater preparation had been recorded by INEC for the election.

On vote buying, Arkwright said, “It shouldn’t happen. People should be allowed to vote according to their conscience and not because they have been paid some amount of money.”

Meanwhile the Ekiti State Government on Friday paid N3,000 to government workers in the state.

Workers are owed five months’ salaries in the state.

A worker who spoke under condition of anonymity said the stipend “is for transportation to our polling units. Some of us don’t have money to go to polling units to vote.”

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