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Monday, 12 January 2015


The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, has called on chieftains of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos to ensure violence- free elections in the state.

The ambassador made the call on Friday when he visited the campaign office of the PDP governorship candidate, Mr. Jimi Agbaje; PDP chieftains, including Senator Musliu Obanikoro in attendance.

Theambassador was accompanied by the US Consul General, Jeff Hawkins; Political Officer, US Consulate, Erica Chinsao and the Political Chief in Nigeria, Mr. Tom Hines.

Speaking at the meeting, Entwistle tasked political parties to appeal to their supporters to eschew violence before, during and after the polls.

The ambassador urged them to also ensure that their agents were in all the polling units to forestall rigging, even as he also urged them to adopt issue- based campaigns that would, in turn, provide a sustainable system for all sectors in Nigeria.

According to Entwistle, the US Embassy has been encouraging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to come up with a creative solution to the agitations over the conduct of the coming election in the country, saying that there was also a need for voting areas to have privacy during the elections.

Agbaje, while speaking at the forum, alleged that there was deliberate attempt by the opposition to hire people to tear posters of PDP candidates.

He, therefore, called on the Ambassador to appeal to the opposition to allow the posters to remain till after the election, adding: “We urge you to appeal to the opposition to at least tolerate the posters till the elections are over.”

The PDP candidate also complained that the party was not comfortable with the way Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) and registration issues were being handled by the INEC.

On his part, the Lagos State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Tunji Shelle, warned that some INEC staff mighthave been compromised because some of the Commission’s offices were located within local government secretariats currently controlled by the party in power.

According to Obanikoro, there is need to move the collation centres to neutral avenue if INEC is truly working towards a free and fair elections.

Obanikoro alleged that the opposition in Lagos State were usually intimidated out of collation centres.