The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in its first reaction to the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) report on the 2019 general elections said that it would implement the recommendations provided in accordance with the law.
EU EOM had in its report presented on Saturday in Abuja faulted INEC for not providing centralised information on the declared results, saying that months after the elections, INEC has not published complete results on its website.
The EU EOM further berated that the electoral body for failing to provide sufficient public information in line with global standards.
The electoral body is however yet to officially respond to the report. Naija Buzz would published INEC’s reaction as soon as its available.
Presidency reacts to EU report
The Presidency in its reaction said that President Muhammadu Buhari accepted the report of the European Union and would ensure the implementation of its recommendations ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, noted that the EU reported improvements in the conduct of the polls, adding that the overall results showed that INEC performed well. (Shehu’s statement on INEC’s performance is however not completely correct as the EU body noted that overall the elections were “marked by severe operational and transparency shortcomings, electoral security problems and low turnout.” Some of which includes INEC inability to provide sufficient public information and centralised results for transparency.
Read the statement issued by the presidency below;
“The administration of President Buhari will work with all Nigerian citizens, state institutions, parties, civil society, the media and other experts to make sure that the improvements recommended by the EU are implemented, and that these areas of concern are addressed.
“It is noteworthy that INEC is in receipt of a number of recommendations that form a part of the EU report.
“The Presidency assures Nigerians that the commission is in safe hands and happy that they are currently engaged in root and branch reviews of the 2019 general elections and will input lessons learned into its recommendations for electoral and constitutional reforms.
“We believe that the commission conducted good elections and will continue to improve on its processes and procedures.
“While it is regretted that the elections in a few parts of the country witnessed some violence, among other shortcomings highlighted by the EU, we note however that none of these hitches affected the overall outcome of the elections.”
Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation reacts
Festus Keyamo, the spokesman for the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, who attended the EU report presentation in his reaction, said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory reflected the wishes of Nigerian citizens.
According to Keyamo, even if irregularities were witnessed in few polling units, it was not enough to fault the overall integrity of the 2019 general elections.
“The results of the election reflected the overall wishes of Nigerians. That was the report of many observers. If you are an observer, you should come to a definite conclusion.
“We have 120,000 polling units across the country. In all, I don’t think they discuss more than 500 polling units in the report. If you observe anomalies in those units, how does that substantially affect results coming from 120,000 polling units? It is not enough for the EU to discuss the anomalies, they must discuss overall results of the country, whether it reflects the wishes of the people.
“Afterall, there were problems in the US elections. There were problems in Europe, and even in UK recently,” he stated.
PDP reacts, says its supporters were killed and intimidated
The strongest opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in its reaction to the EU report said that during the 2019 general elections its members were maimed, killed and harassed in the presence of security agencies/officials.
EU EOM had faulted the role of leading parties (APC and PDP) in violence and intimidation by its supporters.
“Leading parties were at fault in not reining in acts of violence and intimidation by their supporters, and abuse of incumbency at federal and state levels,” EU EOM stated.
The PDP in its statement by the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, cited the situation in Kano and Rivers States. According to the party, the APC colluded with security officials to intimidate members of the PDP.
“The world watched what happened to our members during the last general elections. We campaigned, preached peace and love. But what did we get in return?
“The Independent National Electoral Commission colluded with the APC and the security officials to deny us victory in many states. Officials of the commission and security officials looked the other way while our members were being harassed, molested or even killed.
“Members of the APC were seen on camera, seizing electoral materials in states like Kano, Lagos and Rivers. What did the security officials do? They looked the other way.
“That is why 2019 elections will go into record as one of the worst elections to be conducted in the history of Nigeria.”
David Chima is the Group Head (Editors) at Naija Buzz News. He is a very experienced Journalist. He studied Mass Communication at the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic Zaria, Kaduna State, before proceeding for Advanced Studies in Mass Communication (Journalism) at the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi, Bauchi State. He previously served as the Head Senior Reporters and Publishers at 1Push.Ng and eventually Naija Buzz News. Chima is a lover of football and a very strong supporter of Barcelona Football Club Spain.