By Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the last general election, Atiku Abubakar, has lambasted President Bola Tinubu for condemning the latest report of the European Union Electoral Observer Mission that scored the 2023 elections low, citing the irregularities that characterised the exercise.
President Tinubu, who was the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the election, faulted the EU report as untrue, ascribing it to the opposition and enemies of his government and insisting that the election was free, fair and credible.
But in a quick counter to Tinubu’s claim, Atiku described the report of the European Union Election Monitoring Group as credible.
Atiku, in a statement issued by his special adviser on public communications, Phrank Shaibu, in Abuja, on Sunday evening, mocked Tinubu’s spokesman for trying to discredit the EU report.
The strong-worded statement notes: “Even the dead knew that the last election lacked credibility and even the Independent National Electoral Commission had been unable to explain why nearly five months after the election, it had refused to upload the full result on its result viewing portal.
“Even primary school children who did not vote know that INEC failed woefully and that Tinubu rigged the last election.
“The Presidential election held on February 25, 2023 and yet as of July 2, 2023, the result of the Presidential election has not been fully uploaded. This is despite the fact that this election was the most expensive in the history of West Africa. How can an election in which the full results have not been fully uploaded after nearly five months be described as credible by any sane human being?”
Citing the conduct of the presidential election in Rivers State as a case study, the Atiku camp said: “The presidential election in Rivers State was clearly rigged as evidenced by what INEC has uploaded on IREV. So far, nearly 300,000 Nigerians have signed a petition on change.org demanding Visa bans against Governor Wike. Tinubu is now on the verge of appointing Wike as a minister as a reward for that disgraceful election. What a shame?”
Tinubu had, on Sunday, dismissed the report by the EU’s Electoral Observer Mission on the 2023 general elections as a product of a poorly done desk job that relied heavily on few persons.
In a statement issued by Dele Alake, Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, entitled: “We reject European Union’s conclusions on 2023 general elections,” Tinubu argued that some notable bodies like the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, and even the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, commended the conduct and outcome of the election.
The statement reads: “Sometimes in May, we alerted the nation, through a press statement, to the plan by a continental multi-lateral institution to discredit the 2023 general elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“The main target was the presidential election, clearly and fairly won by the then candidate of All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“While we did not mention the name of the organisation in the said statement, we made it abundantly clear to Nigerians how this foreign institution had been unrelenting in its assault on the credibility of the electoral process, the sovereignty of our country and on our ability as a people to organise ourselves.
“We find it preposterous and unconscionable that in this day and age, any foreign organisation of whatever hue can continue to insist on its own yardstick and assessment as the only way to determine the credibility and transparency of our elections.
“Now that the organisation has submitted what it claimed to be its final report on the elections, we can now categorically let Nigerians and the entire world know that we were not unaware of the machinations of the European Union to sustain its, largely, unfounded bias and claims on the election outcomes.
“For emphasis, we want to reiterate that the 2023 general elections, most especially the presidential election, won by President Bola Tinubu/All Progressives Congress, were credible, peaceful, free, fair and the best organised general elections in Nigeria since 1999.”