EU report on 2019 Elections: What Nigerians must know
Contrary to reports in a section of the media, the EU Election Observer Mission report on the 2019 general elections gave a positive rating of the entire process, describing the elections as an improvement on the 2015 polls.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there are significant points and observations made in the report that have received little media spotlight which are important in the overall understanding of the issues surrounding the process.
A cursory look at the Executive Summary of the EU EOM report indicated that the entire process was competitive, media coverage by government owned stations was fair and balanced while general conduct by the parties, umpire and the electorates was commendable except for a few unfortunate instances.
On page 3 in the Executive Summary of the report, for instance, the body said “positively the elections were competitive, parties were overall able to campaign and civil society enhanced accountability “
It acknowledged that “INEC made a number of improvements, including making electoral participation more accessible through simplified voting procedures. INEC made efforts to strengthen electoral integrity by issuing regulations making smart card readers mandatory.”
On page 4 of the document, the EU said the elections were competitive with a large number of candidates for all seats although competition was primarily between the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party.
According to the EU, “Parties and candidates were overall able to campaign, with freedoms of assembly, expression and movement broadly respected”.
It continued on page 5 of the same document that “EU EOM media monitoring over 46 days showed federal government-owned Radio’s commitment to balanced election coverage.
“Positively in almost all observations Party agents received copies of the results forms.
The national collation Centre for the presidential election was open to party agents and observers, and was continuously televised”.
The body further stressed again on page 37 of the Executive Summary that ” the national collation Centre for the presidential results was open to party agents, observers and the media with each state’s results projected on a large screen. There was continuous live television coverage and the media published the results as announced by INEC, thereby increasing access to results information.”
Under the section RESULTS AND STAKEHOLDER REACTION on page 41 the EU said “YIAGA Africa announced that the results were consistent with its parallel vote tabulation that INDEPENDENTLY projected the results based on a sample of 1,515 polling units. The two leading parties won 96.8% of the valid votes between them.”
Alluding to some of the points highlighted above in an interview with journalists after EU press conference, the spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, SAN, said the part of the EU Observer Mission’s report that said the entire elections had issues of lack of transparency in result collation, among others, was misleading.
According to Keyamo, “the election reflected the overall wishes of many Nigerians, and that was the report of many observers at the elections.
“If you are an observer, you have to come to a definitive conclusion, don’t be dodgy about anything.”
Continuing, Keyamo said “We had 120,000 poliing units across the country and I don’t think the EU observer mission discussed more than 500 polling units. If they observed certain anomalies, it could not have been in more than 500 or 1000 polling units.
“So, if you do observe anomalies in those polling units, how does that affect 120,000 polling units.”
“It is not enough for the EU to discuss only the anomalies, they must analyse the overall result coming from the entire country, whether it did reflect the wishes of the people which is what we want to know because there are problems everywhere. The US elections had problems, in Europe there are problems with elections too.
“So, we expect a detailed analysis to come to a definitive conclusion about the overall result of the election,” Keyamo added.