The presidency has rejected the European Union Election Monitoring Observation final report on the February 25 presidential election, describing it as a fraudulent attempt to discredit the election result that declared the then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ahmed Bola Tinubu, as the winner and president of the biggest black nation in the world.
In a press statement signed by Dele Alake, Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications, and Strategy, the presidency said that the European Union report was not only expected but a negatively influenced conclusion based on feelings and subjective observations from those who lost out in the election.
The presidency said that as far back as May, they had “alerted the nation, through a press statement, to the plan by a continental multi-lateral institution to discredit the 2023 general elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission.”
It claimed that in that same statement, the EU had been “unrelenting in its assault on the credibility of the electoral process, the sovereignty of our country, and on our ability as a people to organise ourselves.”
The presidency said that it found it unimaginable and unacceptable to base the credibility and transparency of our electoral processes on the yardstick set by foreign organisations in this case, the EU.
Concerned especially about the “partisan” direction the organisation has taken, the presidency said, “Now that the organisation has submitted what it claimed to be its final report on the elections, we can now categorically let Nigerians and the entire world know that we were not unaware of the machinations of the European Union to sustain its, largely, unfounded bias and claims on the election outcomes.”
It added that the lack of substantial and convincing evidence to discredit the integrity of the electoral process proves that the February 25 presidential election, which produced Tinubu as president, “were credible, peaceful, free, fair, and the best organised general elections in Nigeria since 1999.”
According to the presidency, what was more disturbing in the EU’s final assessment and conclusions was that Barry Andrews, the Head of the EU Election Observation Mission, based its pre-election and post-election processes in Nigeria on observations from 11 Abuja-based analysts and 40 election observers spread across 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
With a personnel deployment not enough to cover the happenings across 176,000 polling units across Nigeria, the presidency said, “We would like to know and even ask the EU how it reached the conclusions in the submitted final report with the very limited coverage of the elections by their observers, who, without doubt, relied more on rumours, hearsay, cocktails of prejudiced and uninformed social media commentaries, and opposition talking heads. We are convinced that what EU-EOM called the final report on our recent elections is a product of a poorly done desk job that relied heavily on a few instances of skirmishes in less than 1000 polling units out of over 176,000 where Nigerians voted on election day.”
It added that the report is jaundiced and, at best, was merely sustained to feed the premature denunciatory stance.
It stated that unlike the EU Election Observation Mission, the African Union, ECOWAS, Commonwealth Observer Mission, and the Nigeria Bar Association had judged the 2023 general elections as “the most transparent and best organised elections since the return of civil rule”.
The presidency also noted that in recent interviews, Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education of INEC, has not only defended the integrity of the general elections but rejected the false narratives peddled in the EU report.
For now, “President Tinubu is facing the arduous task of nation-building, while those who have reasons to challenge the process continue to do so through the courts,” it added.