Opposition parties including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP), have criticized the Presidency for rejecting the European Union’s (EU) final report on the February 25 presidential election.
The EU Observer Mission had highlighted “enduring systemic weaknesses” in the election, which the PDP and LP claim were not credible. However, the Presidency described the EU report as a “poorly done desk job” and refuted claims of election flaws.
The EU report provided 23 recommendations for electoral reforms, emphasizing the need for transparency, inclusiveness, and accountability. The Presidency criticized the EU’s data-gathering techniques and asserted that the 2023 general elections were credible and well-organized.
In response, PDP’s flagbearer in the last election, Atiku Abubakar, accused the presidency of failing to acknowledge the truth and questioned the credibility of the election, citing delayed result uploads by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Mr Phrank Shaibu, a special assistant to Atiku, in a statement said the EU’s final report on the 2023 polls showed that the outcome of the election was not a true reflection of the people’s will
According to him, it is hypocritical for the Federal Government to receive support from the EU for the elections and discard its findings because it is not in their favour.
Similarly, the National Publicity Secretary of LP, Obiora Ifoh, told Daily Trust that the presidency’s comment is a face-saving measure.
“It will interest the government to note that the European Union’s report is only one out of numerous submissions by other international Observers who have described the outcome of the election as a sham and an exercise that did not reflect the will of the majority of Nigerians,” Ifoh was quoted as saying.
He stressed that 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.”
The PDP, LP, and members of some other opposition parties, all did support the EU report’s findings, emphasizing the need to challenge the election outcome in court.
While the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) defended the election’s credibility, the EU report was seen as an opportunity for improvement rather than an indictment. The possibility of a Government of National Unity (GNU) in Nigeria was mentioned, adding complexity to the opposition’s response to the EU assessment.