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2023 Elections: Presidency Responds to EU, Rejects Fraud Claims

The Presidency has issued a response to the European Union Election Observer Mission (EU-EOM) regarding their conclusions on the 2023 general elections. Accusing the EU-EOM of bias, the Presidency argued that the group relied on social media commentaries and opposition figures’ opinions, which undermined the credibility of their findings.

In their final report, the EU-EOM stated that the general elections did not meet the promised standards of a well-run, transparent, and inclusive democratic process by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The report emphasized the severe damage to public confidence and trust in INEC during the presidential poll and the failure to restore it in state-level elections, leading to calls for an independent audit of the entire process.

The report highlighted that although the Electoral Act 2022 introduced measures to build stakeholder trust, the Act’s implementation during the general election revealed gaps in INEC’s accountability and transparency. The report noted that the Act lacked clear provisions for timely and efficient implementation.

In response, the Presidency, through a statement issued by Dele Alake, Special Adviser to the President (Special Duties, Communications, and Strategy), maintained that the presidential election, won by President Bola Tinubu as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was credible, peaceful, free, fair, and the best-organized general election in Nigeria since 1999. They argued that the EU-EOM and other groups failed to provide substantial evidence to question the integrity of the 2023 election outcomes.

The Presidency further pointed out that the EU-EOM had an insufficient number of observers on the ground to adequately cover the 176,000 polling units across the country. They highlighted that local observers, as well as the ECOWAS and Commonwealth Observer groups, rated the conduct of the election highly. The statement emphasized that Nigerians who were dissatisfied with the election outcome were already challenging it in court, indicating that the country had moved beyond the election phase.

Additionally, the Presidency stated that Nigerians were satisfied with President Tinubu’s actions to steer the country towards fiscal sustainability and socio-economic reforms. They alleged that the EU-EOM’s final report was a continuation of their preliminary assessment, which the ruling party had previously cautioned against.

The statement reiterated that the 2023 general elections, particularly the presidential election won by President Bola Tinubu/All Progressives Congress, were credible, peaceful, free, fair, and the best organized in Nigeria since 1999. It criticized the limited coverage of the elections by the EU-EOM’s observers and their reliance on rumors, uninformed social media commentaries, and opposition talking heads.

The Presidency rejected any notion suggesting that the 2023 election was fraudulent, emphasizing that reputable non-partisan foreign and local observers, including the African Union, ECOWAS, Commonwealth Observer Mission, and the Nigerian Bar Association, validated the transparency and organization of the election. They highlighted the Nigerian Bar Association’s report, which indicated that 91.8% of Nigerians rated the national and state elections as credible and satisfactory.

The statement concluded by urging the EU and other foreign interests to maintain objectivity in their assessments of Nigeria’s internal affairs and allow the country to move forward. It highlighted President Tinubu’s commitment to nation-building and the ongoing legal processes for those contesting the election results. Finally, it called on the EU and other foreign interests to allow Nigeria room to breathe and make progress.

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