Presidency rejects, as Labour Party supports EU report on Nigeria’s 2023 Elections
The presidency in Nigeria has rejected the report of the European Union on the outcome of the 2023 general elections.
In its final report on the Nigerian elections, the globally acclaimed body said trust in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had been severely damaged, especially as a result of the failure to upload the result of the presidential election electronically.
But responding in a statement on Sunday, President Tinubu’s special adviser on special duties, communications and strategy, Dele Alake, described the report as 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.
He said the report relied more on rumours, hearsay, cocktails of prejudiced and uninformed social media commentaries and opposition talking heads.
Alake said the 2023 general elections, most especially the presidential election, won by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu/All Progressives Congress, were credible, peaceful, free, fair and the best organised general elections in Nigeria since 1999.
He said: “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.
“Unlike EU-EOM that deployed fewer than 50 observers, the Nigerian Bar Association 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.
“As a country, we have put the elections behind us. 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. In just one month in office, Nigerians appear satisfied with the decisive leadership of President Tinubu and the manner he is redirecting the country to the path of fiscal sustainability and socio-economic reforms. We urge the EU and other foreign interests to be objective in all their assessments of the internal affairs of our country and allow Nigeria to breathe
“Sometimes in May, we 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. The main target was the presidential election, clearly and fairly won by the then candidate of All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“While we did not mention the name of the organisation in the said statement, we made it abundantly clear to Nigerians how this foreign institution 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. We find it preposterous and unconscionable that in this day and age, any foreign organisation of whatever hue can continue to insist on its own yardstick and assessment as the only way to determine the credibility and transparency of our elections.
“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 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.”
Labour Party supports EU
Meanwhile, the Labour Party has said that the government is just trying to cover its face from what it described as the shame from the last election.
The Labour Party noted with dismay the statement by the federal government discrediting the European Union’s conclusions on the 2023 general election wherein it faulted the modalities by which the conclusion was reached.
According to the national publicity secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, the party sees this rejection of the EU report as face-saving measure by the federal government days after the submission of the report as feeble and medicine after death.
“It will interest the government to note that the European Union’s report is only one out of numerous submissions by other international observers which have described the outcome of the election as a sham and an exercise that did not reflect the will of the majority of Nigerians.
He said: “The Labour Party stands by the position of the EU observation mission. We have always said that this election was massively rigged in favour of the APC and their candidate.
“What the FG is saying is just an afterthought and a shameless effort to mask the obvious. Even the blind can see, the deaf can hear and they know this election was manipulated.
“We are only hoping that the judiciary will dispense justice without fear or favour in the interest of the nation and posterity. Nigerians already know the true winner of the 2023 presidential election and no amount of slandering, denial, or rebuttal can change the fact that the party in power does not have the mandate of the electorate.”
Ifo noted that INEC is in active connivance with the federal government to deny the electorate and it clearly shows that INEC is not in any way independent.
“The Commission’s action is at the whims and caprices of the government and we know it. But Nigerians are looking to the Judiciary for justice. That’s where we stand,” he concluded.
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