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Presidency rejects ‘jaundiced’ EU conclusion on 2023 elections

The Presidency has rejected verdict of the European Union on outcome of the February 25 presidential election, which saw the emergence of President Bola Tinubu as winner.

The Presidency, in a statement, yesterday, issued by Dele Alake, Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, also said it “strongly rejects, in its entirety, any notion and idea from any organisation, group and individual remotely suggesting that the 2023 election was fraudulent.”

Dismissing the verdict, the Presidency berated the EU, saying the organisation merely relied on prejudiced and uninformed social media commentaries and opposition talking heads to arrive at its conclusions. It added that the body failed to provide substantial evidence to impeach integrity of the election outcome.

The statement reads in part: “Sometimes in May, we alerted the nation, through a press statement, to plan by a continental multilateral institution to discredit the 2023 general elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“The main target was the presidential election, clearly and fairly won by the then candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), 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 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.

“For emphasis, we want to reiterate that the 2023 general elections, most especially the presidential election, won by President Bola Tinubu/APC, were credible, peaceful, free, fair and the best organised general elections in Nigeria since 1999.

“It is worth restating that the limitation of EU’s 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.

“We would like to know and even ask 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 final report on our recent elections is a product of a poorly done desk job that relied heavily on few instances of skirmishes in less than 1,000 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 (NBA).

“Unlike EU-EOM that deployed fewer than 50 observers, the NBA that sent out over 1,000 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 per cent of the citizens considered transparent should be celebrated anywhere in the world.”

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