EU EOM: APC, PDP went against Nigerian rotational Representation.
EU EOM: APC, PDP went against Nigerian rotational Representation.

15 Highlights of the European Union EOM Report on 2023 Elections that Rattled APC and PDP

The 2023 general elections in Nigeria were anticipated to be a milestone for the nation’s democratic progress, with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) promising a transparent, inclusive, and well-run electoral process. However, the reality fell short of these assurances, raising concerns about the integrity and credibility of the elections. This write-up critically examines the highlights of the European Union Election Observation Mission EOM final report on the 2023 elections.

  1. 2023 ELECTIONS WERE NOT TRANSPARENT AS PROMISED BY INEC “The 2023 general elections did not ensure a well-run transparent, and inclusive democratic process as assured by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Public confidence and trust in INEC were severely damaged during the presidential poll and was not restored in state level elections, leading civil society to call for an independent audit of the entire process”. Pg 6
  1. AS USUAL, OUR POLITICIANS BOUGHT VOTES
    “Abuse of incumbency by various political office holders distorted the playing field and wide-spread vote buying detracted from an appropriate conduct of the elections. Incidents of organised violence shortly before and on election days in several states created an environment deterring voter’s participation”. Pg 6
  2. SOCIAL MEDIA RAISED THE BAR
    “Media raised voters’ awareness, fact-checkers stood up against disinformation
    and civil society demanded INEC’s accountability” Pg 6
  1. INEC FAILURE TO TRANSMIT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS DENTED THE POLLS
    “The introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV) was widely seen as an important step to ensure the integrity and credibility of the elections. In practice, multiple missteps and lack of transparency before the polls, compounded by severely delayed display of presidential result forms, dashed the public trust in election technologies used”. Pg 6
  2. OUR POLITICIANS AVOIDED FIERCE JOURNALISTS LIKE RUFAI “
    During interviews, politicians rebuffed merit-based questions, focusing instead on inter and intra party mudslinging. Analytical reporting was scant as, fearing retribution from the governor, many state-level outlets practiced self-censorship. The broadcast media regulator imposed at least 43 fines without a due process, while numerous attacks on journalists went unpunished. Overall, police inaction compounded by institutional pressures impeded freedom of expression and hindered voters’ access to diverse information on electoral choices”. Pg 7
  3. THERE WERE OPERATIONAL FAILURES ON THE PART OF INEC ON ELECTION DAY
    “Public confidence and trust in INEC were severely damaged due to lack of transparency and operational failures in the conduct of the federal level polls and INEC’s delayed and insufficient explanations for those failures. Until the end of the electoral process, INEC continued to abstain from providing information, limiting its communication to a few press releases and ceremonial statements, and hence failing to address public grievances and rebuild confidence”. Pg 16
  4. INEC DECLARED TINUBU WHEN THEY HAVE NOT PUBLISHED FULL RESULTS
    “According to section 62 of the 2022 Act, INEC should maintain an electronic database of elections results but it remains unclear if this has been implemented yet. By the time that the EU EOM left the country, INEC did not publish the full presidential election results”. Pg 19
  5. WIKE AND OTHER MANDATE LOOTERS DID NOT ALLOW OPPOSITION TO BREATHE
    “EU EOM observers recorded denials of access to opposition candidates to state-owned stadiums and school premises, selectively imposed excessive venue fees, as well as cases of some roads being temporarily blocked, and party offices closed to impede campaigning by opponent candidates. EU EOM observers also noted a particularly constrained campaign environment in Rivers State with the governor imposing campaign rules that were more
    restrictive than INEC regulations”. Pg 23
  6. LAGOS AND KADUNA WERE THE EPIC CENTERS OF TRIBAL AND RELIGIOUS CAMPAIGN
    “In the aftermath of the presidential elections, the use of religion and ethnicity in the campaign increased and largely shaped the campaign rhetoric in states like Lagos, Nasarawa and Kaduna. Ethnic tension was particularly strong in Lagos, where the gubernatorial campaign was dominated by divisive language of ethnic belonging and exclusion”. Pg 26
  7. LP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN WAS ISSUE BASED UNLIKE APC AND PDP
    “Both APC and PDP campaigns, including online, used abusive language with mutual personal accusations perceived in the Nigerian context as a form of hate speech. Widespread conspiracy theories about plots and attempts to sabotage the elections overshadowed party programmes. The LP presidential campaign was leader-centred and issue-based and dominated the campaign online.”. Pg 26
  8. THE OBIDIENT MOVEMENT CONTROLLED THE NARRATIVES ONLINE
    “A specific feature of the 2023 campaign was the strong online engagement of Peter Obi’s supporters in the campaign. This was reflected in the support he had in the online community, especially among young people, as well as in online debates, especially in the context of the presidential elections”. Pg 37
  9. YOUNG NIGERIANS WERE ORGANISED AND TOOK CENTER STAGE BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE ELECTIONS
    “In a positive achievement ahead of the 2023 elections, INEC highlighted the high rate of new registrants under 34 years among the 9.3 million newly registered voters,107 while almost 40 per cent of the total 93.5 million registered voters were even younger. The pre-election context was filled with high expectations for youth participation, following increased youth mobilisation after the 2020 #EndSARS protests against police brutality and exasperation with economic and security crises”. Pg 41
  10. THE ENVIRONMENT IN MOST COLLATION CENTERS WERE CHAOTIC
    ” On elections night, EU EOM observers witnessed chaotic, disorganised, and tense conditions at overcrowded collation centres. In many instances collation officers were not on site as polling staff arrived. Many collations centres at ward level did not open at all, particularly in the South-South and South-East where presiding officers were sent directly to the LGA collation centres”. Pg 47
  11. INEC DONT HAVE SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE TO PROVE TINUBU WON
    “INEC did not publish the manner of calculation of the declared presidential and National Assembly winners, the turnout per state, number of accredited voters, total votes cast, rejected ballots, votes attributed to each party or the list of polling units where elections were cancelled, postponed, or not held. The absence of this information undermined the possibility for independent verification of the outcomes”. Pg 48
  12. FFK AND FESTUS KEYAMO WERE MENTIONED AS MERCHANT OF FAKE NEWS.
    “There was an increased incidence of misleading information in
    the days leading up to and during the election. In many cases, false reports were spread by well-known personalities associated with political parties. Examples
    Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of aviation and an APC party member, made a claim on February 11, 2023, that the PDP presidential candidate Abubakar, had a secret meeting with serving military Generals in Abuja. He accused Atiku of wanting to incite chaos, provoke a coup d’état, and establish a new and unconstitutional order. Kayode posted this claim across multiple social media platforms, and it garnered 281.2k total impressions. The next day, he posted that the Army denied reports about a meeting between its officers and Atiku. On 12 February Festus Keyamo from APC promoted information published by a suspicious website, accusing Peter Obi of bribery. The story quickly become viral and was in few hours debunked”. Pg 91, 92
A writer at Parallel Facts