The Ambassador of Ireland to Nigeria, Mr. Sean Hoy has declared that he will encourage ambassadors of the European Union countries to closely monitor elections in Rivers and other Niger Delta States to promote transparent and credible polls in 2019.
This is as the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike stated that in 2019, the votes of the people must count.
He said the electoral umpire INEC must conduct the elections in line with the Electoral Act and guidelines.
Addressing journalists after a closed door meeting with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike at the Government House Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Ambassador Hoy noted that his country is interested in violence free polls in the region.
He said : “I will be encouraging my colleagues, that we should be on ground, supporting democracy, transparent, free and fair elections .
“The Rivers State Governor and I agreed that with transparency, free , fair and credible elections, the risk of violence will decrease. “
He congratulated the governor for his developmental strides and efforts in dealing with insecurity in the area, which has led to the growth in oil production and revenue.
He said: “I congratulated the governor on his efforts and the efforts of the local authorities in Rivers in dealing with insecurity in the Niger-Delta. Now we have seen an increase in oil production for Nigeria and this is benefiting all Nigerians .”
The Ambassador added that he discussed the development of the agricultural sector with the Rivers State Governor.
“Nigeria is blessed with wonderful resources. I have spoken several times about the potential for Agricultural Development. Agriculture is important, industry is important and processing industries are important. In order to advance all these, peace and security are the key thing. With peace and security in Nigeria, everything is possible”, he said.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said if INEC and security agencies play by the rules, it will reduce the level of violence in 2019.
He said the government and people of Rivers State are ready to support any process that will lead to credible, free and fair elections.
He said: “I am willing to cooperate to ensure that we have violence free elections in Rivers State and the Niger Delta.
“We have done quite a lot to win the confidence of our people. So we don’t need anybody to manipulate the electoral process to our advantage. People should vote and their votes must count.”
Governor Wike said that Rivers State occupies an important position in the affairs of the country.
He said: “We have also discussed the issue of free, fair and transparent elections, which are key. If the security agencies and the electoral umpire don’t interfere with the process, that will obviously reduce the level of violence. Violence is as a result of people trying to manipulate the process and in manipulating the process, people would want to resist and at the end it leads to violence, which is not necessary.”