The rejection of the European Union’s (EU) final report on the presidential election held on February 25 has drawn criticism from opposition parties such as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP). These parties deemed the EU Observer Mission’s highlighting of “enduring systemic weaknesses” in the election as lacking credibility. Conversely, the Presidency dismissed the EU report as a “poorly done desk job” and refuted claims of election irregularities.
The EU report presented 23 recommendations for electoral reforms, emphasizing the importance of transparency, inclusiveness, and accountability. In response, the Presidency questioned the EU’s data collection methods and asserted that the 2023 general elections were well-organized and credible.
In light of this, Atiku Abubakar, the PDP’s candidate in the last election, accused the Presidency of failing to acknowledge the truth and raised doubts about the credibility of the election, citing delays in result uploads by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Atiku’s special assistant, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, stated that the EU’s final report indicated that the election outcome did not reflect the people’s will. He criticized the Federal Government for accepting support from the EU during the elections but disregarding its findings because they were unfavorable.
Similarly, the National Publicity Secretary of the LP, Obiora Ifoh, described the Presidency’s response as an attempt to save face. He pointed out that the EU report was just one of many submissions by international observers who regarded the election as a sham that did not represent the majority of Nigerians’ will.
The PDP, LP, and other opposition parties supported the findings of the EU report and emphasized 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 a condemnation. The mention of a Government of National Unity (GNU) in Nigeria added further complexity to the opposition’s response to the EU assessment.