Full story: On 27th June, 2023, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) published its final report on Nigeria’s federal and state elections held on 25 February and 18 March. The mission, which was led by Barry Andrews, a member of the European parliament, concluded among others in its report that “the 2023 general
Full story: On 27th June, 2023, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) published its final report on Nigeria’s federal and state elections held on 25 February and 18 March.
The mission, which was led by Barry Andrews, a member of the European parliament, concluded among others in its report that “the 2023 general elections did not ensure a well-run transparent, and inclusive democratic process as assured by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)”.
The federal government of Nigeria has since responded, describing the report as part of evidence of the European Union’s “unfounded bias and claims on the election outcomes”. This is seen by many as an attempt to discredit the report and water down its significance and usage.
Dele Alake, who is the Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, on 2nd of July, 2023, signed a state house release which condemned what it described as “plan by a continental multilateral institution to discredit the 2023 general elections”. The statement was shared here on the date of release and has now gathered over 654 thousand views, 733 retweets, 388 quote tweets and 2,054 likes.
According to the release, Alake described the report as jaundiced, claiming that it was based on the views of fewer than 50 observers. “We have many reasons to believe the jaundiced report, based on the views of fewer than 50 observers, was to merely sustain the same premature denunciatory stance contained in EU’s preliminary report released in March” the release reads:
Is the EU-EOM Report Based on the Views of Fewer Than 50 Observers? We verified.
Verification: A close analysis show the mission’s report was based on more than 50 observers as claimed by Dele Alake representing the Federal Government. This is buttressed by the fact that:
- The EU-EOM to Nigeria engaged about 110 observers for the presidential election as stated in the second paragraph of Section II which is the introduction to the report. See the attached snapshot of the said section of the report below.
- The final report was based on, not only the observations and data collected by those engaged as staff by the mission but also on those generated by its interlocutors – including other EU agencies, INEC and civil society organisations that are implementing partners of several EU projects.
iii. The reliance on other EU agencies for relevant data and information is in line with Section 2(2.2) of the Handbook for European Union Election Observation Missions which provides for strong cooperation among European Institutions.
- The mission in its report, referenced its interlocutors in Sections X(a), XI, XII (b and c), and XVII (a and b). Specific reference was made to CSOs in Sections XI, XIII(b), XV (a and c), XVI and XX(c).
- Again, the Connected Development (CODE) which deployed some 7,000 observers, YIAGA Africa which deployed 4,000 observers, The Situation Room and Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) which deployed some 5,000 observers were specifically referenced in Section XVI of the report are part of the contributors to the EU report.
- Similarly, in its 11-page preliminary statement released on 27 February, 2023, the mission stated in the concluding section on Electoral Dispute that “some court decisions were made at the expense of justice leading EU EOM interlocutors to criticise various rulings as too technical…” just as it did in other sections of the report, further revealing the missions’ reliance on data from sources other than the over 110 individuals engaged during the mission.
vii. Also, a quick check through the news stories and editorials (like this, this and this) on the final EU EOM report shows that the mission is acknowledged as well staffed. A vanguard article titled “Much ado about EU-EOM report” noted that “the EU-EOM was definitely the largest of all the missions (both local and foreign) that observed and published their findings of the 2023 general elections”.
Conclusion: From various sources, observations show that the EU-EOM relied on not only the views of less than 50 observers as claimed by Dele Alake. The mission had in fact engaged 110 observers for the presidential election, and it relied on data and information supplied by INEC, CSOs and other interlocutors who are numerous. It is therefore convenient to conclude that the claim by Mr. Alake is not true and misleading.