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EU charges Nigerian politicians on virile opposition




EUROPEAN Union (EU) yesterday cautioned the All Progressives Congress (APC) against having a government with no strong opposition party.

This charge, which was delivered by Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria, Ambassador Michel Arrion, was made in view of the recent defection of politicians from the Peoples Democratic Party to the APC.

Arrion said further that politically, a means should be designed to control indiscriminate defections. Such means could include losing a political seat, according to him.

Arrion, who made the remarks while responding to questions from journalists at a media luncheon organised by the commission in Abuja, stressed that the presence of a strong opposition would be in the best interest of the winning party.

He said that though many politicians in the country are clever enough to understand the importance of a well-organised opposition, he lamented that Nigeria has a long history of cross carpeting. “There is a long tradition of those things in Nigeria, which is important,” pointing out that “it is important that the institutional and the political system gives room for a strong opposition and we hope that the body politics of Nigeria will be able to form a strong, active opposition.

“And I will say that it is even in the interest of the APC because if there is no opposition, there is then an internal opposition. And then, APC could go through the same difficult moment that PDP went through. So I think it is quite important; I think many politicians in Nigeria are clever enough to understand those things much better than I do; this question of having quite cohesive group of opponent, and well-organised, it is important.”

“You can always impose rules through legal framework when people are changing and swapping from a party to another party, like losing their seats at the assembly and things like that. I mean those questions should be treated at political level rather than legal level,” he said.

Speaking on the conduct of the 2015 General Elections, the ambassador commended all the stakeholders over the successful conduct, saying Nigeria has delivered a democratic example.

He noted that though there was a number of political-related violence, he called on the Nigerian government to ensure that issues of violence are addressed, especially in the South South and South East.

“But objectively, the number of victims was ten times smaller than four years ago. Though one live is already too much, certainly we all welcome this very peaceful nature of the whole process,” he said.

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