The Presidency has rejected the final report compiled by election observers from the Europe Union, EU, regarding the conduct of the recently-concluded presidential election.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications, and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake, says the government is not unaware of the machinations of the EU to sustain its, largely, unfounded bias and claims to discredit the outcome of the election.
“For emphasis, we want to reiterate that the 2023 general elections, most especially the presidential election, won by President Bola Tinubu/All Progressives Congress, were credible, peaceful, free, fair and the best organised general elections in Nigeria since 1999.
“There is no substantial evidence provided by the European Union or any foreign and local organisation that is viable enough to impeach the integrity of the 2023 election outcomes.
“It is worth restating that the limitation of EU final assessment and conclusions on our elections was made very bare in the text of the press conference addressed by the Head of its Electoral Observation Mission, Barry Andrews. While addressing journalists in Abuja on the so-called final report, Andrews noted that EU-EOM monitored the pre-election and post-election processes in Nigeria from January 11 to April 11, 2023 as an INEC accredited election monitoring group. Within this period, EU-EOM observed the elections through 11 Abuja-based analysts, and 40 election observers spread across 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. With the level of personnel deployed, which was barely an average of one person per state, we wonder how EU-EOM independently monitored election in over 176,000 polling units across Nigeria”, the statement argues.
The statement questions how the EU 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.
The government stresses that it is convinced that what EU-EOM calls final report on the recent elections is a product of a poorly done desk job that relied heavily on few instances of skirmishes in less than 1000 polling units out of over 176,000 where Nigerians voted on election day.
“We have many reasons to believe the jaundiced report, based on the views of fewer than 50 observers, was to merely sustain the same premature denunciatory stance contained in EU’s preliminary report released in March.
“We strongly reject, in its entirety, any notion and idea from any organisation, group and individual remotely suggesting that the 2023 election was fraudulent.
“Our earlier position that the technology-aided 2023 general elections were the most transparent and best organised elections since the return of civil rule in Nigeria has been validated by all non-partisan foreign and local observers such are the African Union, ECOWAS, Commonwealth Observer Mission and the Nigerian Bar Association”, the government posits.
The Presidency says unlike EU-EOM that deployed fewer than 50 observers, the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, that sent out over 1000 observers spread across the entire country for same election gave a more holistic and accurate assessment of the elections in their own report.
“NBA, an organisation of eminent lawyers and an important voice within the civic space, reported that 91.8 per cent of Nigerians rated the conduct of the national and state elections as credible and satisfactory. Any election that over 90% of the citizens considered transparent should be celebrated anywhere in the world.
“It is heart-warming that INEC, through its National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, has come out to defend the integrity of the election it conducted by rejecting the false narratives in the EU report.
“It is also gratifying that the electoral umpire, as an institution that is open to learning and continuous improvements, has also committed to taking on board more ideas, innovation and reforms that will further enhance the integrity and credibility of our electoral process”, the Presidency explains.
It points out that as a country, Nigerians have put the elections behind them, adding that 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.