By Shola Abayomi.
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has indicted Nigeria’s leading political parties for failing to act to curb violence during the 2019 general elections.
According to the EU EOM’s report released yesterday, ”The leading parties were at fault in not reining in acts of violence and intimidation by supporters, and in abusing incumbency at federal and state levels.
”The elections became increasingly marred by violence and intimidation. This harmed the integrity of the electoral process and may deter future participation.
”Around 150 people died in election-related violence during the campaign period and over the election days. INEC reported attacks on its offices, and also fatalities, abductions and sexual assault against its officials.”
”Journalists were subject to harassment, and scrutiny of the electoral process was at times compromised with some independent observers obstructed in their work, including by security agencies,” the report stated.
The “leading parties” in the 2019 general elections were the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Reacting to this, the presidency welcomed the EU’s report, promising to analyse it fully and act on the recommendations in the best interest of the country, adding that the EU observers were invited to the country by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and welcomed by President Muhammadu Buhari, which indicated his administration’s good intentions, commitment to a purely democratic process and desire to improve on the next elections.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in Abuja yesterday.
He said, ”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 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 a good election and will continue to improve on its processes and procedures,” he stated.
Shehu further hailed the fact that the noticeable hitches and pockets of violence across the country did not affect the outcome of the elections.
He said, “Thankfully, EU did not question the results of the presidential election”, which according to him, was a proof that the polls reflected the overall will of Nigerians, and that the world is solidly behind the election of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term.