July 02, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government has expressed strong objections to the European Union’s (EU) alleged attempts to discredit the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
The EU mission, on Tuesday, in its final report on the 2023 general elections, presented by its chief observer, Barry Andrews, said the 2023 elections lacked transparency, fraudulent and exposed enduring systemic weaknesses.
Faulting the report on Sunday, a statement by Dele Alake, Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, emphasised that February 25 presidential election, won by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was transparent, fair and the most well-organised since Nigeria’s transition to civil rule in 1999.
Alake said, “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.
“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.”
Alake faulted the limited scope of the EU’s assessment, highlighting the fact that their observers monitored the elections through only 11 analysts based in Abuja and 40 observers spread across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
He questioned the credibility of the EU’s conclusions, given their limited coverage of the vast number of polling units, which amounted to over 176,000 across Nigeria.
Expressing doubts about the EU’s independence, Alake said their report relied more on rumours, uninformed social media commentaries, and opposition talking heads.
He argued that the EU’s final report seemed to sustain the same biased stance as their preliminary report released in March, casting doubts on its objectivity.
Alake emphasised that numerous non-partisan foreign and local observers, including the African Union, ECOWAS, Commonwealth Observer Mission, and the Nigerian Bar Association, had validated the credibility and transparency of the elections.
He highlighted the comprehensive report by the Nigerian Bar Association, which deployed over 1,000 observers throughout the country. According to their assessment, 91.8% of Nigerians rated the conduct of the national and state elections as credible and satisfactory.
Commending the INEC for defending the integrity of the election and rejecting the false narratives presented in the EU report, Alake said, “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.”
He also acknowledged INEC’s commitment to embracing ideas, innovations, and reforms aimed at further enhancing the integrity and credibility of the electoral process.
With the elections concluded, Alake said President Tinubu is now focused on the arduous task of nation-building, adding that despite ongoing legal challenges, Nigerians have expressed satisfaction with President Tinubu’s decisive leadership and his efforts to redirect the country towards fiscal sustainability and socio-economic reforms within just one month in office.
He charged the EU and other foreign interests to approach their assessments of Nigeria’s internal affairs with objectivity, allowing the country to move forward without undue interference.
“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”, he added.